Ma­rine unit rack­ing up suc­cesses

Cape Times - - PAGE 2 - STAFF WRITER

A TIP-OFF has re­sulted in the City’s Ma­rine and En­vi­ron­men­tal Law En­force­ment Unit rack­ing up their first ar­rests and the re­cov­ery of poached ma­rine life of the new year.

Of­fi­cers were con­duct­ing wa­ter­borne op­er­a­tions when their land­based col­leagues acted on a tip-off and cor­nered six sus­pects on the rocks in a se­cluded part of the Kalk Bay shore­line yes­ter­day.

The sus­pects had al­ready re­moved and bagged 238 limpets, 42 peri­win­kles and 590 black mus­sels.

The City said they would be charged un­der the Ma­rine and Liv­ing Re­sources Act and had been taken to Muizen­berg po­lice sta­tion.

The ar­rest comes just days af­ter of­fi­cers ar­rested a 34-year-old man from Ma­nen­berg who had al­legedly poached 925 peri­win­kles in the Kalk Bay area.

On Sun­day al­leged poach­ers in the Melk­bos area left one of their run­ners alone with a stash of abalone at Slab­bers Klippe beach.

Aux­il­iary of­fi­cers from the unit, work­ing with the Melk­bos Anti-Poach­ing Unit, ap­proached the run­ner, who es­caped. The of­fi­cers re­cov­ered 259 shucked abalone.

“Ma­rine re­sources are un­der threat and our lo­cal econ­omy and the en­vi­ron­ment can­not af­ford this abuse.

“It is crit­i­cal for us to have ef­fec­tive ways of fight­ing the il­le­gal poach­ing of sea life and this unit has proven its met­tle since it was es­tab­lished,” said the May­oral Com­mit­tee Mem­ber for Safety and Se­cu­rity, JP Smith.

The unit was es­tab­lished in 2013 and its fo­cus has been ma­rine and coastal law en­force­ment, in­clud­ing in­shore boat pa­trols. Dur­ing the last three months of 2018, the unit made 19 ar­rests and im­pounded 4 934 liv­ing ma­rine re­sources (abalone, alikreukels, mus­sels, peri­winkels, snails and limpets).

Smith said the City and the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries (Daff) had signed an Im­ple­men­ta­tion Pro­to­col in 2016 that paved the way for closer co-op­er­a­tion in the fight against poach­ing.

He lauded the unit’s of­fi­cers for their ded­i­ca­tion and hard work.

“Ma­rine life around the world is un­der threat be­cause of poach­ing, over­fish­ing and lit­ter dumped into the oceans.

“While we re­alise that there are peo­ple who make a liv­ing from the sea, the wan­ton pil­lag­ing can­not be al­lowed to go unchecked.

‘‘If we let it, there will soon be noth­ing left for any­one and species will go ex­tinct.

“Our of­fi­cers do not just catch those who poach, but also en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of re­sources and the sur­vival of ma­rine life,” he said.

Our ma­rine re­sources are un­der threat and the en­vi­ron­ment can’t af­ford this abuse

The City of Cape Town’s Ma­rine and En­vi­ron­men­tal Law En­force­ment Unit has racked up their first ar­rests and the re­cov­ery of poached ma­rine life for the new year. The unit, which was es­tab­lished in 2013, con­tin­ues to fight il­le­gal ma­rine re­source ex­trac­tion along the City’s 300km coast­line.

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