An early morning aerial search has led to the detection of two alleged poachers in possession of almost 500 fresh abalone at an Adelaide beach, police have said.

Key points:

  • Almost 500 fresh abalone were seized after police patrols attended Hallett Cove
  • Police said the two alleged poachers were initially spotted from a police helicopter
  • They are now being investigated by fisheries officers

The men — a 70-year-old from Angle Park and a 69-year-old from Para Hills West — were spotted at Hallett Cove about 2am on Wednesday, police said.

The men were walking along the local boardwalk towards South Avenue, police said, when an SA Police helicopter passed overhead.

Local patrols then found the pair, who allegedly had hiking backpacks containing nearly 500 fresh abalone — an amount described by police as a “commercial quantity”.

“The men were also in possession of wetsuits, nets and shucking knifes,” police said.

Officers from South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) attended and seized the abalone and equipment.

Police said the men were also found in possession of wetsuits, nets and shucking knives.(Supplied: SA Police)

Police said the men were being investigated by fisheries officers for offences under the Fisheries Act.

In South Australia, abalone is subject to strict fishing limits.

According to PIRSA, the current personal daily bag limit is five, while boat limits range from five to 10, the latter if caught by more than one person.