Gill netters run rampant
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.
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