Two men have been caught with close to nine times the legal limit of abalone in Port Fairy.
Victorian Fisheries Authority state manager operations Paul Shea said two Point Cook men were observed with 89 abalone in Lighthouse Bay on Friday.
He said 88 of the 89 were undersized.
The illegal haul is nearly nine times the daily bag limit for abalone.
Mr Shea said fisheries officers seized the catch and snorkeling gear.
“The pair will be charged with taking undersize abalone, exceeding the catch limit, taking abalone from the intertidal zone and using a sharp instrument,” he said.
“They face penalties of up to $40,000 and 18 months imprisonment, or both.”
In a separate incident on Thursday, a woman and three men from Sunshine were caught in possession of 58 abalone, 54 of which were undersized.
The abalone was seized and the group will receive infringements notices of over $1000 each.
Fisheries officers were alerted to the illegal hauls after members of the community called the Victorian Fisheries Authority reporting hotline.
Mr Shea said commercial fishery was strictly managed with quotas. He said some of the best intelligence on illegal fishing came from the public via the hotline, which is monitored 24-hours a day by trained staff.
“Callers can remain anonymous and even if fisheries officers can’t respond immediately in the field, the information provided is valuable and contributes to planning future patrol and operations,” he said.
“The vast majority of fishers do the right thing by fishing responsibly and sustainably, including staying within catch limits.”
Anyone with information should call the Victorian Fisheries Authority on 13FISH (133474).
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