Minister applauds toothfish seizure

Feb 20, 2003
Author: Phindile Makwakwa : Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa, has praised the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism for once again cracking down on illegal fishing activities by seizing a consignment of approximately 5 tons Patagonian toothfish estimated at R500 thousand from a warehouse in Cape Town earlier today.

The toothfish was discharged in Cape Town harbour in July 2002 from a Uruguayan registered fishing vessel, the Viola. The owners of the vessel have been unable to procure the documentation required in terms of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), to which South Africa is a party. The purpose of the catch documentation scheme is to ensure that there is an audit trail to prove that the fish that ends up on the world markets has been legally caught.

Minister Valli Moosa said that "South Africa, as a member of the international fisheries community and bound by important international treaties, such as CCAMLR, takes its obligations seriously and will take the strongest and most appropriate action to ensure that marine resources, and specifically endangered resources such as Patagonian Toothfish, are protected. South Africa had already reported this violation to CCAMLR at its last meeting in October 2002."

The seized fish is to be forfeited to the State and will be sold. The proceeds will be paid into the Marine Living Resources Fund and will be used to further bolster fisheries compliance measures.

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