Court fines men caught with abalone in traffic stop

Abalone found in the backseat of a vehicle in Morley.
Abalone found in the backseat of a vehicle in Morley.

A POLICE traffic stop has resulted in two men receiving fines for illegally dealing in abalone.

Officers stopped a vehicle in Morley about a year and a half ago and found a large amount of abalone in the back seat of the vehicle.

Police handed the case over to fisheries and marine officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, who seized the 109 abalone and charged the men with offences related to dealing in abalone.

Mirrabooka man Kil Ha Dang (42) and Dinh Hoang Nguyen (47) from Marangaroo, who did not appear in Perth Magistrates Court on August 14, were found guilty in their absence.

Dang was issued with a fine, mandatory penalty and court costs totalling $9710.80 and prohibited from being in possession of abalone for five years, while Nguyen was ordered to pay $7710.80.

The court heard that Nguyen, who was driving the vehicle, enabled and aided Dang to deal in the abalone.

It’s an offence, under the Abalone Limited Entry Fishery Notice 1992, to buy or deal in abalone, unless those abalone were taken by the holder of a commercial fishing licence.

The department’s metro regional compliance manager Todd A’Vard said the successful case resulted from the call from police and the immediate response by compliance officers on the day the men were intercepted.

“Individuals who illegally deal in priority fish, such as abalone, face fines of up to $400,000 and/or up to four years imprisonment, as well as court orders, licence suspensions and vehicle and vessel forfeitures,” he said.

“Commercial abalone fishing in WA is undertaken by licensed commercial abalone divers operating a limited number of managed fishery licences to take specific amounts of abalone (or quota) in particular zones.

“Illegal dealing in abalone not only undermines the legitimate livelihoods of the commercial fishers, but can potentially put consumers at risk and impact on abalone sustainability.”

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity or sales can call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.