That’s an expensive abalone trip!

Two members of a Willetton family had an expensive abalone fishing trip this month when a Busselton Court fined them a total of $4368.70 for intentionally exceeding their bag limit.

The pair showed their catch bags containing the legal limit of Roe’s abalone to Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) officers when stopped at a roadside checkpoint at Kilcarnup, near Margaret River, in February this year during the Southern Zone season. But when Compliance officers searched their SUV they found 42 more shucked abalone stuffed in a raincoat, a wetsuit and the vehicle’s tyre well.

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.

The court suspended the fishers abalone licences for 10 months and issued 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.

The Busselton Court also served a 46 year-old Willetton woman with fines, penalties and costs totalling $1,898.70 for hiding 25 abalone in a bush in an area known as Joey’s Nose near Kilcarnup.

Apart from illegally shucking the abalone the female also admitted to catching the abalone and stated that she didn’t hold a recreational abalone fishing licence.

More information on the recreational rules is available in the Abalone fishing guide, which is available on the department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au. 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.

Suspected illegal fishing activity can be reported to FishWatch on 1800 815 507. All reports are treated in the strictest of confidence.