Abalone haul fine $31,000

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
The illegal abalone haul 14 times the limit
Camera IconThe illegal abalone haul 14 times the limit Credit: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

An illegal abalone haul — more than 14 times over the limit — taken from rocks south of Sugarloaf Rock has cost a Perth man more than $31,000.

Tho Tung Vo was ordered to pay a fine, mandatory penalty and court costs totalling $31,582.20 and had his recreational abalone fishing licence suspended for five years.

On November 27 last year, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development fisheries compliance officers observed the 48-year-old man moving among beach rocks and intercepted him as he was leaving to find 292 Roe’s abalone in his possession.

The daily possession limit in the Southern abalone zone, between Busselton Jetty and the WA border, is 20 Roe’s abalone.

The DPIRD officers found 241 shucked abalone weighing 6.85kg and a further 51 whole abalone, with a weight of 4.93kg.

In Busselton Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday magistrate Robert Young emphasised the seriousness of Vo’s offence and the risk that people would take advantage of the fish stock if laws were not enforced with meaningful penalties.

When questioned, Vo claimed he had not been fishing but when the officers searched his car Vo attempted to hide a backpack containing the abalone underneath the vehicle.

When questioned Tho Tung Vo tried to hide the illegal catch under his car
Camera IconWhen questioned Tho Tung Vo tried to hide the illegal catch under his car Credit: Luke Jameson/Luke Jameson

DPIRD acting regional compliance manager Robert Bogumil said the penalties imposed were appropriate given the man took what is defined as a commercial quantity of abalone.

“It’s becomes a commercial quantity, if it’s more than 10 times the bag limit,” he said.

“The DPIRD fisheries compliance officers were conducting Operation Vesuvius patrols at the time, targeting the Roe’s abalone fishery.

“The rules are designed to ensure its sustainability.”

More information on the recreational rules is available in the abalone fishing guide available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

The obligation for all abalone fishers is to know the rules for where they plan to fish.

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