Fisheries control officers from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) arrested more than forty suspected poachers of marine living resources and confiscated five boats used in alleged poaching as efforts intensify to curb illegal harvesting of marine living resources (MLR).
The five confiscated boats are linked to poaching in the Gansbaai area with 13 suspects arrested for abalone poaching there. The latest confiscation was on May 26 when suspected poachers were pursued by law enforcement officers. The suspects reportedly jumped from the boat after which a search immediately ensued. No arrests have been made. The boat had more than 2400 abalone units, 33 diving cylinders and other diving equipment aboard. All were confiscated and further investigations are underway.
“It is DAFF’s resolve not only to deal with illegal harvesters of MLR but also to deal with illegal buyers,” Carol Moses of DAFF Fisheries Communication Services said.
In separate incidents a suspect was arrested in Kalk Bay harbour for a case related to smuggling West Coast rock lobster opened at Muizenberg Police Station in Cape Town. Another case involving an illegal buyer saw an arrest in China Mall in East London for illegal possession of squid and swimming prawns.
Five suspects were arrested in Durban for illegal possession of 575 East Coast rock lobster where a vehicle, freezer and other items were confiscated. DAFF urges traders to buy marine living resources from the legal sellers.
“DAF calls on all communities to work together to curb poaching and the illegal trade of MLR,” Moses said.