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 300 km coastline. Read more below:
‘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 metal since it was established,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
The specialised Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit was established in 2013 and its focus has been marine and coastal law enforcement, including inshore boat patrols.
The unit’s most recent success was this morning, Thursday, when officers were conducting waterborne operations, their land based colleagues acted on a tip off and cornered six suspects on the rocks in a secluded part of the Kalk Bay shoreline.
The suspects had already removed and bagged 238 limpets, 42 periwinkles and 590 black mussels. They will be charged under the Marine and Living Resources Act and were transported to Muizenberg police station.
On Monday 7 January officers arrested a 34-year-old man from Manenberg who had poached 925 periwinkles in the Kalk Bay area and on 6 January 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 took off and escaped.
The officers recovered 259 shucked abalone.
During the last three months of 2018, the unit made 19 arrests, impounded 4 934 marine living resources (abalone, alikreukels, mussels, periwinkels, snails and limpets).
The City and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) signed an Implementation Protocol in 2016 that paved the way for closer cooperation in the fight against poaching.
Through the Implementation Protocol with DAFF, City Law Enforcement officers were trained and appointed as fishery control officers in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998, with full powers.
Alderman Smith commended the unit’s officers for their dedication and hard work.
‘Marine life around the world are under threat because of poaching, over fishing 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 do 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,’ explained Alderman Smith.