Shot in the arm for fight against poaching

In December last year, four poachers with 396 abalone were nabbed in Melkbosstrand in a joint operation by the SAPS and the Melkbosstrand Neighbourhood Watch.

The City of Cape Town and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have signed an implementation protocol, agreeing to closer cooperation in the fight against poaching of marine resources along the City’s 300 km coastline.

Law enforcement officers have been trained and appointed as fishery control officers with full powers, in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act.

In a statement last week, the City said it had set up a specialised marine and environmental law enforcement unit in 2013. The unit’s recent successes include the arrest of a shop owner in Glencairn for illegal possession of more than 800 West Coast rock lobster and the arrest of nine suspects in Gordon’s Bay for the illegal possession of 200 abalone.

“Marine resource abuse is an issue that our local economy and marine environment cannot afford. It is vital for us to establish effective ways of collaborating with partners such as DAFF to fight marine-related transgressions,” said mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning Johan van der Merwe.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said the protocol would pave the way for more integrated law enforcement operations between the City and DAFF.

“It will also significantly increase the resources, capacity and effort available for enforcement and policing of the coastal and marine environment.

“Hopefully we will be able to procure a second large patrol boat soon, also to combat the stripping of our scarce and valuable marine resources,” he said.