Gill net­ters run ram­pant

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - NEWS - Dave Sa­vides

THERE is no ap­par­ent end to the plun­der­ing of fish stocks by gill net poach­ers in the har­bour waters at Richards Bay.

The es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem was vividly il­lus­trated early on Tues­day morn­ing when boat skip­per Wy­nand Stry­dom came across a mass of gill nets spread along a stretch off Naval Is­land at about 8am.

He con­tacted the North Coast An­tiPoach­ing (NCAP) group who re­sponded im­me­di­ately and re­trieved and emp­tied the nets.

NCAP mem­bers

Melinda Ash­ing­ton and An­dre Cop­pin re­moved 186 dead fish, 78 of which were small sharks, from an es­ti­mated 1km of nets. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries (DAFF) of­fi­cials ar­rived later on scene to pack the fish and took the nets to the SAPS Se­abor­der­line Unit.

The in­ci­dent is part of a never end­ing episode of poach­ing that threat­ens the fu­ture of valu­able fish re­sources.

The gill nets, known as ‘Walls of Death’ are strung across rivers, es­tu­ar­ies, bays and even dams to in­dis­crim­i­nately snare species.

On one pre­vi­ous week­end alone, po­lice re­moved 7km of nets from the Richards Bay har­bour, re­leas­ing more than 700 fish.

No fewer than 186 dead fish were found in the nets An­dre Cop­pin and Melinda Ash­ing­ton of the North Coast Anti Poach­ing group emp­tied the nets

More than 1km of re­cov­ered gill nets line the shore at Naval Is­land

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