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A$45,000 in Scallop Fines

AUSTRALIA - A 51 year old man from Doncaster, Victoria, has been fined A$5,000 and ordered to pay a further A$5,000 in costs for engaging in a commercial scallop fishing enterprise without a valid licence.

He was also ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty order of an additional A$15,000 which relates, in part, to profits derived from the 5.5 tonnes of scallops illegally taken.

The man was formerly a director of a company which was also convicted and fined A$15,000 and ordered to pay a further A$5,000 in costs.

The company which formerly acted as a scallop processing plant at Port Welshpool, did not hold an appropriate licence to commercially buy and sell scallops.

Both appeared before Magistrate Louis Hill at the Latrobe Courts in Morwell and pleaded guilty to fisheries related charges between August 2005 and June 2006.

This prosecution was the culmination of an extensive, two-year audit of the Victorian scallop fishery by officers from Fisheries Victoria at Lakes Entrance and Yarram.

Operation Jamboree resulted in eight prosecutions with a total of 12 scallop fishers charged.

Fisheries Operations Manager for Gippsland Peter Courtney says the Victorian scallop fishery is quota managed and produces a quality seafood product.

"In order for the community to retain confidence in the Victorian scallop industry, it is imperative the licensed commercial scallop fishers adhere to all the fisheries regulations that are in place," Mr Courtney said.