Arrests made in connection with WA illegal lobster trade

Image: Fisheries WA

FISHERIES and Marine Officers today executed search warrants at two residences in Yanchep as part of an ongoing operational focus on alleged illegal trade in rock lobsters.

Department of Fisheries’ North Metropolitan Region Acting Compliance Manager Ryan Parker said today’s raids followed the execution of multiple warrants and continuing enquires in recent months, in Perth and the Midwest.  

“Extensive operations have been carried out to identify people who allegedly fish as recreational fishers and then sell their catch illegally, including by filtering catch through commercial seafood related businesses,” Parker said.

“In Western Australia, the sale or barter of recreationally caught fish, of any species, is illegal and considered to be at the highest level of offending.

“Today’s raids led to the seizure of more than 90 rock lobsters, processing equipment and a vessel. A number of people are being investigated, with a view to prosecution on a range of charges.” 

WA’s commercial rock lobster fishery is well-established and a valuable fishery, which is proudly certified by the international Marine Stewardship Council.

Commercial fishers pay high access fees and other overheads, to enable them to engage in the sustainable fishing and sale of their product.

There is an established recreational fishery that is inherently non-commercial and which is based on a well-developed resource sharing framework, both ecologically and socially sound. 

Black market activities strike at the heart of, and the intent and operation of, the State’s fishing laws. They erode the legislatively established rights of the legitimate fishers and WA’s fishing laws set the standards the community expects.

Proven offenders face fines of up to $400,000 and four years imprisonment, as well as possible licence suspensions and potential vehicle and vessel forfeitures.

Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities is asked to call the Fishwatch reporting line (1800 815 507).

If you suspect you have been offered or purchased seafood from a black market source you are encouraged to report it. Information can be given confidentially to the reporting line.

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