A Geraldton man who collected 127 abalone while illegally fishing near Cape Burney has been fined almost $9000, and given a prison sentence for an unrelated offence of driving while banned. Adrien Paul Hipper, 53, was caught by fishery officers catching abalone using a modified screwdriver on a reef south of Greenough River at around 6.30 on December 23, 2022. When the officers checked his bag, they found 127 Roe’s abalone. Not only did Hipper go far beyond his bag limit of 15, he was doing so without a recreational licence and was doing it in a no-go zone for abalone fishing. Since 2011, it has been illegal to fish for abalone north of Moore River, due to a heatwave which decimated stocks Hipper appeared in Geraldton Magistrates Court on June 12 for sentencing after pleading guilty to the charges. Out of a maximum $12,000 in potential fines for the three offences, Magistrate Angus Hockton fined Hipper $8989.30. “If everyone took like you did, there wouldn’t be any for anyone else,” Mr Hockton said. DPIRD Director of Regional Compliance Metro Todd A’Vard said the fines highlighted the seriousness of abalone fishing offences. “These were offences that go to the heart of keeping the abalone fishery sustainable, and fishers need to follow the rules about where and when they can fish, and not exceed daily bag limits,” Mr A’Vard said. Hipper was also caught driving while disqualified and with methamphetamine in his system. On November 14, 2022 Hipper was stopped by police on North West Coastal Highway in Spalding, driving while on a disqualified licence. Police found methamphetamine and paraphernalia, and Hipper tested positive for the drug. The court was told Hipper’s licence had been disqualified six times in the past. He was given an immediate prison term of eight months, and fined $2050 for the drug offences.