The Sydney Morning Herald reports that organized crime in Australia is targeting mud crabs, prawns and barramundi to fuel an illicit domestic seafood market.
A study by the Australian Institute of Criminology warns that thieves – including bikie gangs – are exploiting national parks in New South Wales by using illegal divers and families using the guise of indigenous hunting.
Oyster theft is so well organised that thieves use lifting equipment on vehicles to steal whole racks from farms, the report says.
The report says that while the main market for abalone and shark fin is Hong Kong, there is "an extensive illicit Australian market for these other species. The market includes clubs, restaurants, hotels, fish and chip shops."
The study was prompted by research showing there had been growth in organised crime involving abalone and rock lobster, and an increase in criminals using the industry to launder money and make drugs at aquaculture farms.