VIC: Hiding abalone in underpants costs abusive man $5,000

A man who threatened and abused Fisheries Officers when they caught him hiding illegal abalone in his underpants has been fined $5000.

Magistrate John O’Callaghan told 52 year old Sooseala Ulberg, of Meadow Heights, the most serious part of his offending was threatening and abusing the officers.

He said the abuse was very serious.

Broadmeadows Magistrates Court heard Ulberg was watched by the officers as he gathered abalone in shallow water at Seaholme, near Altona, in January last year.

Black Lipped Abalone. Photo courtesy Vic DPI

He was wearing a black T shirt, goggles, black underpants and shoes as he used a silver knife to prise the abalone from rocks.

The officers told the court Ulberg turned back to the water when he was intercepted and tried to throw the abalone in his underpants back into water.

He then began shouting obscenties and threatening to kill the officers.

Ulberg failed to appear in court last May and was arrested by police at the end of last year.

In court this week Ulberg pleaded guilty to taking abalone during a closed season, taking undersize abalone and abusing, threatening and hindering Fisheries Officers.

He was fined, ordered to pay costs of nearly $70 and banned from recreational fishing for 12 months.

The Director of Enforcement at Fisheries Victoria, Michael Hodder said Fisheries Officers performed an extremely important task in protecting fisheries resources and educating community members on a range of matters.

”Being threatened and abused is never acceptable,” Mr Hodder said.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to call the 24-hour reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).