WAPOL Commissioner Recognises WA Seafood Industry in Geraldton

Police Commissioner Chris Dawson presenting Justin Pirrottina, Chair of the Geraldton Professional Fishermen’s Association, with an award of recognition.

Due to its remoteness and isolation, Western Australia’s Mid-West has been identified as one of the hotspots for illegal activity including drug imports and invasive species threats. In order to help fight the war on crime and keep our environment safe, WA’s professional fishers have partnered with WA Police (WAPOL) to be the ‘eyes and ears’ on the water with the formal announcement taking place last month at the police complex in Maylands.

Today, the Police Commissioner, Chris Dawson, along with the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC), further strengthened the partnership by meeting with the Geraldton rock lobster industry to explain the strategic importance of the border security collaboration.

WA Police Commissioner, Chris Dawson, addressing WA rock lobster industry members.

Additionally, the Commissioner extended his sincere appreciation to the industry men and women who were involved in the recent 1 tonne drug seizure of cocaine, ecstasy and methylamphetamine, worth $1 billion dollars, at the Abrolhos Islands by presenting Justin Pirrottina, Chair of the Geraldton Professional Fishermen’s Association, with an award of recognition.

Chair of the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) Dr Ron Edwards said that today’s meeting was essential to further promote the important role of the local professional fishing community in protecting WA’s 13,000km of coastline.

WAFIC Chair, Dr Ron Edwards with veteran of the rock lobster industry Bert Boschetti, Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and WAFIC Chief Executive Officer  Alex Ogg

“Today’s meeting included hosting the WAPOL Commissioner so further discussions about border security could take place. The Commissioner met directly with Geraldton’s professional lobster industry and thanked them for their role in the Abrolhos Island billion-dollar drug seizure which saw industry alert authorities to the 15-metre vessel, ending in multiple arrests over the sophisticated operation.”

“The partnership is the Western Australia’s new community watch to assist solving crimes and protect our vast and vulnerable coastlines from illegal activity, including vital bio-security risks.”

“I have said it once – and I will say it again – those seeking to illegally enter West Australian waters should know that our commercial seafood industry members know their way around their area of ocean as well as most people know their way around their lounge room,” he said.

WAFIC Chair, Dr Ron Edwards with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson and WRLC Chair Terry Lissiman

The partnership means that members of the professional seafood industry will have a direct line to the WA Police Force State Operations Command Centre (SOCC) to report any unusual activity noticed along the coastline. The general public is also being encouraged to use the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline of 1800 333 000.

Click to read original media release – September 23

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Danika Gusmeroli  | Communications Officer

E: communications@wafic.org.au M: +61 434 963 179