Tura Beach abalone poacher sentenced

A 41-year-old man with a lengthy record who poached 182 abalone at Tura Beach appeared in Batemans Bay Local Court via audiovisual link on Monday.

Shane John Acton, of Warrego Drive, Sanctuary Point, pleaded guilty to possessing more than the possession limit (for a prior offence) and shucking abalone while not being a commercial fisher.

Acton has 44 sentencing matters and 23 fisheries matters on his record.

Police facts state that at 3.40pm on December 13 last year, police were told that abalone poachers were active at Tura Beach Headland. A witness saw a man diving for abalone and then putting them in hessian bags while a female kept lookout in a Holden Commodore. The car turned out to be registered to Acton.

At 4.30pm Eden Water Police found the car unlocked and unattended. The police stopped the car, which was being driven by the female with Acton as passenger, an hour later and searched it.

They found a backpack containing diving gear and three black plastic bags containing 182 shucked abalone.

The legal personal bag limit is two per person.

Both were arrested but refused to answer questions from a NSW Fisheries officer. 

Charges against the woman were withdrawn and dismissed because Acton accepted a conviction.

The court heard he was gathering the abalone for his large extended family before Christmas, and that he suffered from diabetes and depression.

Magistrate Doug Dick decided that time in custody was appropriate and handed down a nine-month sentence with a three-month non-parole period.

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