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News & Media

  • Operation Trident again targeting oyster theft this Christmas
  • December 19, 2013

Illegal seafood traders are on the menu for law enforcement agencies this Christmas, with a crackdown designed to deter oyster theft during the festive season, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said today.

“‘Operation Trident’ is a multi-phase operation targeting the theft or illegal sale of oysters during this peak season,” Mr Tritton said.

“Enforcement officers will be on the beat – in the streets as well as out on the water to protect the valuable crops from illegal fishers.

“Operation Trident has been a key part of the NSW Government’s crackdown on black market seafood since 2007.

“DPI Fisheries Officers work in conjunction with the NSW Food Authority and NSW Police, in consultation with NSW Farmers’ Association to target oyster theft.

“The operation includes covert surveillance and overt inspections up and down the NSW coast that aims to disrupt and dismantle a black market which is responsible for ripping off hard working oyster farmers.”

NSW Food Authority’s Director of Compliance Investigation and Enforcement, Peter Day, said the black market oyster trade poses a health risk to consumers.

“Consumers are being urged to be our eyes and ears on the streets this Christmas,” Mr Day said.

“Most illegal seafood is 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.

“Stolen oysters might not come from an area covered by the NSW Shellfish Program. Only buy oysters from reputable retailers as these oysters have been monitored for their safety.”

Superintendent Mark Hutchings of the NSW Police Force, Marine Area Command said the community must play its role in stamping out illegal seafood trade.

“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,” Superintendent Hutchings said.

“This multi-agency operation allows the agencies to share resources, intelligence and information that will better enable us to catch those responsible for ripping off hard working oyster farmers and putting the lives of the public at risk.”

NSW Farmers’ Association Oyster Committee Chair Kevin McAsh said the industry welcomes this targeted operation against the illegal seafood trade.

“The NSW oyster industry is keen to continue to work in conjunction with the government agencies involved in a combined effort to stamp out oyster theft,” Mr McAsh said.

“Stealing oysters is a crime and you are potentially risking your health if you buy from thieves.”

Members of the public and any affected oyster farmers are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 if they have any information about oyster theft and the black market trade.


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