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13FISH Call Halts Illegal Abalone Haul

VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA - Three St Albans men were issued infringement notices on Sunday evening after allegedly taking too many abalone at Kirks Point.

Geelong Fisheries Officer, Mark Gibson, said three men had been diving at Kirks Point, near Avalon, when intercepted by Fisheries Officers.

The officers were alerted thanks to a timely phone call to the 13FISH fisheries offence reporting line.

They searched the car boot and discovered 20 abalone, which is five more than the permitted daily catch limit for three divers.

Upon closer inspection the officers found seven more abalone hidden in the spare wheel cavity. All were well under the legal minimum size for abalone in Port Phillip Bay, which is 10cm.

The excess and undersize abalone were seized and returned to the water.

Mr Gibson emphasised that it was also illegal to take abalone from water less than two metres deep.

The infringement notices will see the divers fined in the order of A$2,000 for their offences.

The taking of undersize fish and exceeding catch limits is a threat to the sustainability of our fisheries resources, Mr Gibson said.

Sunday was the last of the 60 nominated recreational abalone open days for central Victorian waters this season.

People who see or suspect illegal fishing should call the 13FISH (133 474) fisheries offence reporting line.

Lucy Towers

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