Departmental (media releases)
12 August 2016
A joint campaign by three NSW Government agencies to deter and detect oyster and seafood theft on the North Coast has led to the successful prosecution of a Murwillumbah man.
NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (NSW DPI) Director of Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully, said Operation Trident is a joint approach by NSW DPI, NSW Food Authority and NSW Police Force to crack down on oyster theft as well as protect consumers from potentially unsafe, black market produce.
The 39 year old man was found guilty of larceny in the Mullumbimby Local Court, after he was apprehended collecting restaurant grade oysters in the Brunswick River.
"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," Mr Tully said.
"The black market oyster trade poses a health risk to consumers who are urged to be sure the seafood they purchase is from a reputable retailer," said DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety Director of Compliance, Peter Day.
"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."
Oysters sold on the black market have not undergone the usual stringent food safety tests and purification processes.
"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.