Illegal lobster trafficking in Australia results in fine

Published on
July 20, 2018

Two men were ordered to pay a combined AUD 42,000 (USD 31,000, EUR 27,000) for illegally trafficking eastern rock lobsters.

The unidentified men from Harrington, New South Wales, Australia, were found guilty in Newcastle Local Court in early July. 

A 56 year-old man received AUD 14,000 (USD 10,000, EUR 8,800) in penalties and was ordered to pay an additional penalty of AUD 22,000 (USD 16,000, EUR 14,000) relating to the market value of the catch. 

A 25 year-old-man was placed on a 12-month good behavior bond and was ordered to pay AUD 6,000 (USD 4,400, EUR 3,800) in penalties.

“The court results reflect the seriousness of the offenses and the importance of protecting the small but valuable share managed lobster fishery,” said Niall Blair, New South Wales minister for primary industries, in a press release. “NSW Department of Primary Industries fisheries officers work tirelessly every day to unveil illegal fishing which threatens legitimate markets and economic development and the hard work of all honest fishers.”

NSW Department of Primary Industries said the lobsters, worth around AUD 3800 (USD 2,800, EUR 2,400) on the market, were taken illegally by use of an otter trawl (prawn) net from the 56 year-old man’s offshore prawn trawler in February.

The two men’s charges included trafficking lobsters, aggravated possession of lobsters, taking eastern rock lobsters for sale when not the holder of a duly endorsed commercial fishing license, and attempt to sell lobster without a tag attached, according to Chen.

“Rules are in place with a strict total allowable commercial catch quota system accessible only by fishers endorsed in the fishery.” said NSW DPI Acting Director of Fisheries Compliance Tony Chen. “Individual lobsters must be tagged with numbered tags provided by DPI if legally taken for sale.”

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