Alleged poachers nabbed
CAPE Town’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit racked up its first arrestsand the recovery of poached marine life for the new year.
Officers were conducting waterborne operations when their landbased colleagues acted on a tip-off and cornered six suspects on the rocks at a secluded part of the Kalk Bay shoreline on Friday.
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 arrests came just days after officers arrested a 34-year-old man from Manenberg who had allegedly poached 925 periwinkles in the Kalk Bay area.
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, alikreukel, mussels, periwinkles, snails and limpets).
Smith said the city and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 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 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.”
CAPE Town’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit has racked up its first successes in the new year in its campaign against poaching.