Fishing vessel to be auctioned

Jan 30, 2003
Author: Phindile Makwakwa
Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The fishing vessel, Cobelo, will be sold by public auction on Friday, 31 January 2002 at 12:00 in terms of a court order. The vessel, worth an estimated R6 million and owned and operated by SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd, was seized together with its gear, equipment and stores by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). It followed a year-long investigation by the Scorpions together with DEAT compliance officers that revealed that fish worth more than R12 million is alleged to have been illegally harvested.

The Cobelo was operated by SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd, and entered into a joint venture with Hout Bay Fishing Industries (Pty) Ltd to harvest Hake on its behalf under an allocated quota of 750 000 kg. Hout Bay Fishing Industries exceeded this quota by nearly a million kilograms with the knowledge of SA Hake Fishing. The profit from the sales thereof was shared equally between the two companies. They were therefore accomplices in the undertaking of fishing activities in contravention of Section 13 of the Marine Living Resources Act by over-harvesting fish products.

Hout Bay Fishing was convicted in 2002 for illegal fishing activities and a penalty of approximately R40 million was imposed on the company.

SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd was fined R150 000 as well as a further R100 000 fine for the owner of the company. The vessel, Cobelo, was forfeited to the State.

The Cobelo will be auctioned at Hamlet Quay and the proceeds will be paid into the Marine Living Resources Fund and the Criminal Assets Recovery Account.

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