Abalone divers victims of deep-sea crime

Date: 1/4/2007

Australian South coast abalone divers are fed up that organised crime gangs get away with deep-sea robbery. They say penalties for illegal abalone harvesting in New South Wales are a pittance compared with other states and that criminal gangs are using the loophole to launder their catch. Abalone Advisory Committee member Dennis Loubikis says penalties must be increased to deter abalone theft because families’ livelihoods are at risk. It is estimated that the illegal catch is in excess of the legal catch, this will have a devastating effect on quotas. Quotas have been reduced by 65% in the last three or four years mainly because of the effect of illegal fishing.

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