Illegal abalone purchase proves costly for shop

09 May 2022

A shop owner in Springvale has been convicted and fined $25,000, and ordered to pay $6,500 in costs, in the Melbourne Magistrates Court for trafficking a commercial quantity of abalone.

Director of Education and Enforcement at the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) Ian Parks said the significant penalty should act as a deterrent to retailers considering buying seafood from illegitimate sources not authorised to collect or sell it.

“The high commercial value of abalone has made it attractive to unlawful black-market activity,” Mr Parks said

“Abalone are particularly vulnerable to people using guises such as recreational fishing to take them for commercial purposes.

“Under the Fisheries Act, abalone are a priority species and subject to higher levels of protection to ensure wild stocks remain sustainable.

“Holders of commercial fishery access licences are the only people permitted to take fish, including abalone, for sale from Victorian waters.”

Mr Parks said in this instance investigators from the VFA’s Statewide Investigations Group had identified the man receiving 10 kilograms of shucked (shelled) abalone meat and one greenlip abalone, for which he paid unlawful divers $900.

“The sale took place in a multi-storey car park with some of the abalone later located by investigators during an inspection of the retail outlet owned by the man, who made full admissions.”

If you see or suspect illegal fishing, call our 24/7 reporting service, 13 FISH (13 3474), to speak directly to a Fisheries Officer. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference.

Media contact: Amelia Elliston 0437 801 068