DPIRD officers make arrest over alleged black market seafood sales

Authorities have apprehended a 65-year-old Port Denison man in relation to alleged dealing in black market sales of rock lobster.

The investigation is continuing and arose through Operation APPLEDALE, with Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers targeting the illegal trade of seafood in the Midwest region.

On Thursday 3 February, DPIRD officers, with the assistance of WA Police, executed a search warrant at a property in Port Denison, where officers seized several items, including a boat believed to have been used for the take of rock lobster.

It is illegal to sell, purchase or barter with recreationally caught fish in Western Australia and individuals involved in these types of activities could face fines of up to $40,000 per offence, as well as a mandatory additional penalty for the seafood involved. Court orders, licence suspensions and vehicle or vessel forfeitures may also be imposed by the court.

Any black-market trade in rock lobster not only undermines the legitimate livelihoods of commercial fishers but can put consumers at risk and impact on rock lobster sustainability.

Commercial rock lobster fishing in WA is undertaken by licensed fishers, operating a limited number of managed fishery licences, who are authorised to take specific amounts of rock lobster (or quota) in specific zones.

In WA, fisheries are managed to ensure that our aquatic resources are available to both recreational and commercial fishers and breaches of our communities’ fishing laws are unacceptable.

If you have information involving the illegal trade of fish, you can report it anonymously to Fishwatch on 1800 815 507 or send an email to [email protected].

Officers officers seized several items, including a boat believed to have been used for the take of rock lobster.