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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 21 May 2021

Roadside check uncovers abalone-fishing offences

​A Busselton Court this week heard that two members of a Willetton family both declared catch bags containing the legal limit of Roe’s abalone, but when Compliance officers searched their SUV they found more abalone stuffed in a raincoat, a wetsuit and the vehicle’s tyre well.

As the case progressed, details of a roadside check in February this year by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) officers at Kilcarnup, near Margaret River, revealed that the excess 42 abalone that were hidden had also been shucked.

DPIRD’s Recreational fishing guide for abalone urges fishers take their catch home to clean it. Removing abalone from their shells is not legal within 200 metres of the high-water mark. Abalone shucking at sea is illegal. Abalone need to be in their shells so Compliance officers can check the abalone meet the required size limit.

When questioned both men, one aged 55 and the other 44, told the DPIRD officers they had shucked the 42 abalone in the ocean at Kilcarnup. 

Kilcarnup is in the Southern Zone (Zone 3) of the recreational abalone fishery is currently closed, but is open to fishing every day between 1 October and 15 May.

In the Busselton court on Tuesday 18 May, the two fishers not only had their abalone licences suspended for 10 months, but also received fines of $400 each for the shucking offences, $600 each for the excess bag limit, plus $2,520 collectively for mandatory additional penalties and a shared court cost of $248.70. All up the fines, penalties and costs total $4368.70.

  A search of the vehicle located 42 additional abalone

Also in Busselton Court on the same day, the magistrate issued a 46 year-old Willetton woman with fines, penalties and costs totalling $1,898.70.

The woman had hidden 25 abalone in a bush, but they were uncovered when DPIRD Compliance officers on patrol arrived to check the catches of fishers in an area known as Joey’s Nose near Kilcarnup. 
Apart from illegally shucking the abalone she admitted to catching the abalone, the female also did not hold a recreational fishing licence endorsed for abalone.
More information on the recreational rules is available in the Abalone fishing guide, which is available on the department’s website at The obligation for all fishers is to know the rules that apply to what they are fishing for and for where they plan to fish.

We urge people to report any suspected illegal fishing activity to FishWatch on 1800 815 507. All reports are treated in the strictest of confidence and, by calling to let us know what you saw, will assist us in protecting WA's fish resources for future generations.

Last modified: 21/05/2021 9:26 AM

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