Consumers urged to check their abalone sources

27 Feb 2019

Consumers are reminded to ensure that any abalone they purchase is legitimate, and commercially caught, following a number of apprehensions this summer.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully said Fisheries Officers have been carrying out regular and routine inspections of abalone retailers as well as targeting illegal sellers and persons supplying those sellers.

“The illegal abalone may be marginally cheaper to purchase but the health risks for you and your family and the potential of significant fines isn’t worth it,” Mr Tully said.

“Abalone not processed in line with strict food safety standards could be contaminated and present serious health risks.

“Buyers of illegal (black market) abalone are placing their family’s health at risk, their customers’ health at risk, it can have a detrimental effect on the reputation of their business and threatens the sustainability of the abalone resource in NSW.

“Consumers are encouraged to only purchase their seafood from recognised abalone retailers and always request a receipt.”

Recent apprehensions:


  • Fisheries Officers found two men allegedly in possession of 69 abalone in Manyana on the NSW South Coast in late January.
  • The men were able to take the abalone off a rock platform due to the extremely low tide at the time.
  • All the abalone were of a prohibited size and below the legal size limit of 11.7cm.
  • All the abalone was returned to water alive.
  • It is expected the two men will be issued a court attendance notice

Batemans Bay

  • Fisheries officers assisted NSW Police after a man in Batemans Bay was allegedly found in possession of 190 abalone late in January.
  • 81 of the abalone was still in its shell and the remaining 109 abalone were illegally shucked.
  • Of the 81 abalone still in its shell, 64 were of a prohibited size.
  • The live abalone were returned to the water.

Mr Tully said that people reporting illegal fishing relating to abalone (or rock lobster) may be entitled to a monetary reward if the information leads to the offender/s being prosecuted and convicted in court. Any information about illegal fishing provided in good faith will be treated confidentially.

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