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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 15 November 2019

Court ruling delivers reminder on illegal possession of white shark jaws

​It has cost a 50-year-old Landsdale man more than $11,000 for being in possession of a set of jaws taken from a white shark, sending a clear message to other people about the seriousness of the offence.

The offender was found with the jaws, after Police conducted a search of his residence on Friday 8 February 2018. They were then handed over to Fisheries Officers for investigation.

A Joondalup Magistrates Court this month (on Tuesday 5 November) heard that scientific evidence had determined the jaws were most likely from a female white shark, which was estimated to have been between 4.62 to 4.79 metres in length.

The white shark jaws seized from a garage at the offender's residence

For possession of the jaws from a totally protected fish, the man was fined $1,500. He was also issued an additional $5,000 mandatory penalty and ordered to pay $4,545 in costs. The court was told there was no evidence the man took the fish and that he had admitted to receiving the jaws from a friend who was a fisherman.

Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer, for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Mark Kleeman said taking any of WA’s totally protected fish species would always be treated very seriously by compliance officers.

“Species don’t make it to this list unless there’s a significant risk, including fish populations being threatened or endangered,” Mr Kleeman said.

“White sharks have been protected throughout Australia for 20 years and remain listed as a vulnerable species. Historically, white shark jaws have sometimes been kept as trophies in private residences. However, as a totally protected species, this practice is no longer permitted.

“If a fisher accidentally catches a protected fish they must release it as quickly and carefully as possible to avoid harm to the fish. Fishers are also reminded that size limits are used as well to protect fish and help ensure the sustainability of various species.

“We ask fishers, the majority of whom do the right thing, to call us if they notice someone or suspect someone is involved in illegal fishing activity and report the matter to FishWatch.

“Please don’t get directly involved. By reporting what you see, you will assist us in protecting WA's fish resources for future generations and reports are treated with the strictest confidence.”

You can call FishWatch 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing activity.

Details of WA’s totally protected species are available in the Recreational fishing guide, which is available online at

Last modified: 15/11/2019 11:23 AM

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