Police track black oyster trade

IF you’re tempted to buy or sell black market oysters this festive season, watch your back.

Authorities are clamping down on the illegal seafood trade over the summer period and black market oysters are at the top of the hit list.

“Would-be oyster thieves are on notice again – we will catch you,” NSW Police Marine Area Commander Joe McNulty said.

“Oyster thieves target leases worked on tirelessly by farmers for years on end and the thefts impact on farmers, their families and ultimately the consumer,” he said.

Operation Trident is an on-going operation designed to deter and detect oyster theft and protect consumers against potentially unsafe black market produce during the Christmas/New year period.

The annual operation includes covert and overt patrols, inspections and specialised surveillance equipment in a team effort between the NSW Police, Industry & Investment NSW and the NSW Food Authority.

The Clarence Valley hasn’t escaped its share of oyster crime.

In recent months thieves have targeted oyster farmers working in the Wooli River, with losses reported in excess of $10,000.

So Valley residents have been urged to join the fight to stop oyster crime.

“If someone approaches you in a pub or if you run a restaurant and someone tries to sell you cheap oysters, ring Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 and help us put an end to this potentially dangerous scam,” Marine area commander McNulty said.

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