100 dead crabs found dumped
A couple were shocked to see about 100 crabs discarded on the ground near a rubbish bin at First Beach, Dana Bay, this week.
Kobus and Maria Hagglund, who are residents of the usually pristine Dana Bay, took photographs of the crabs and sent them to the Mossel Bay Advertiser.
The couple spotted the crabs when they went to the beach on Monday, 28 August, at about 14:00. The crabs had not been there the afternoon before, they said.
In one of the pictures it is evident the perpetrators used the crabs as bait because fishing line and a swivel are still attached.
“What a shame! They could have released them back into the ocean or in the dustbins but they just keft it next to the bins,” the Hagglunds said.
Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team (S.M.A.R.T.) chair Tersia Maria reacted to this descruction of sea life with dismay: “This is a disgrace. This is how our marine life disappears.”
Marais confirmed these were known as threespotted swimming crabs. “Harvesting of only 10 per person per day is allowed. They are used to catch white steenbras, white mussel cracker and galjoen.”
Besides her shock at the number of crabs, many of them were undersized, which made the crime worse.
Marais said crabs should be kept alive in a bucket of water and should fishermen not use them all, they should be returned to the sea. “These are bad fishing habits.”
She expressed frustration that it was “near impossible to enforce the law” and that there were not enough patrols of beaches, barring the Cape Nature marine reserves, where rangers were prevalent.
Residents should report illegal harvesting of marine animals to Sisiwe Fono (083 663 9155) or Shamley Titus (084 411 4386) at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which investigates these cases.
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Fishing line is entwined among the crabs.