Illegal abalone catches
THREE FINED HEAVILY FOR ILLEGAL CATCH
THE lure of abalone at local reefs last summer landed three men in hot water in Joondalup Magistrates Court recently.
Magistrate Gregory Benn handed out thousands of dollars in fines on Friday, April 6, after hearing three unrelated cases of men breaching abalone laws between December and January.
None of the men appeared in court.
The worst case involved a man, Kevin Tran, who took 63 abalone from Mindarie about 7.50am on January 1, which was outside of an allocated catching day. Officers found him stuffing the shellfish in his shorts pockets.
The Fisheries prosecutor told the court Tran said he took the catch “because the water was so clear and there was so many of them”.
Mr Benn accepted it was a spur of the moment act but said it was “clearly an offence of blatant disregard”.
He fined Tran $800 plus a mandatory Fisheries penalty of $1890 and ordered he pay $190 costs.
In another case, Te Ori Rapata took 66 of the shellfish on December 11 about 11.15am off Iluka outside an allocated catching day.
The Fisheries prosecutor said Rapata, who did not have an abalone licence, admitted to officers “I should not have done it”.
Mr Benn labelled the illegal haul a “fairly large amount” and fined Rapata $750 plus a mandatory Fisheries penalty of $1462.50 and $190.85 costs.
In the third case, Chinese national Ju Sung did not have a licence when he took 17 abalone off Ocean Reef on January 2 outside an allocated catching day.
The Fisheries prosecutor told the court Sung claimed he found some of them under a bush at the beach.
In a letter to the court, Sung said he was “ashamed” with what he had done and was not aware of the rules.
Mr Benn accepted it was “a matter of ignorance rather than blatant disregard”, fining him $300 and a mandatory $394.