Murwillumbah man arrested for stealing oysters
A MURWILLUMBAH man has been successfully prosecuted for stealing oysters in the Brunswick River.
The 39-year-old was found guilty of larceny in the Mullumbimby Local Court after he was apprehended collecting restaurant grade oysters.
The arrest was the result of a joint campaign by three NSW Government agencies to deter and detect oyster and seafood theft on the North Coast.
NSW Department of Primary Industries' (NSW DPI) director of fisheries compliance, Patrick Tully, said Operation Trident cracked down on oyster theft and protected consumers from potentially unsafe, black market produce.
"Cape Byron Marine Park compliance officers found the man in possession of more than 200 oysters that had been graded for sale on the black market,” he said.
DPA Biosecurity and Food Safety director of compliance, Peter Day, said there were health risks involved with buying seafood from unreputable retailers.
"Illegal seafood is often stored in the backs of unrefrigerated trucks and we strongly advise against anyone consuming seafood if they don't know where it's come from,” he said.
"Stolen oysters might not come from an area covered by the NSW Shellfish Program.
"The NSW Food Authority recommends people only buy oysters from reputable retailers as these oysters have been monitored for their safety.”
The man was convicted and fined $1000.
Anyone who suspects illegal activity should call the Fishers Watch number on 1800043536 or report online at www.dpi.fisheries.nsw.au/compliance
Oyster farmers can also report stock theft through the DPI website.