Government cracks down on illegal poachers

Feb 24, 2005
Author: JP Louw, Dept of Environmental Affairs & Tourism

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, together with the South African Police Services, have raided an old farmhouse allegedly being used as an illegal abalone-processing factory near Motherwell in Port Elizabeth today (Thursday, 24 February 2005).

Abalone to the value of more than R500,000 has been confiscated. Equipment valued at more than R1 million has been seized and include drying facilities, gas cylinders, two vehicles, and scales. Two suspects have been arrested.

In a separate incident this morning the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's environmental protection vessel, the Lilian Ngoyi, busted illegal divers in the Bird Island marine protected area. Nine divers were arrested and diving equipment to the value of approximately R150,000 was confiscated.

Bird Island, which has been the target of abalone poachers, was declared a marine protected area in June last year. Because of increased pressures on South Africa's marine and coastal environment, marine protected areas are a crucial component of South Africa's marine conservation strategy to ensure sustainability of marine resources and sustainable coastal livelihoods.

The suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday, 28 February 2005.

Since the Lilian Ngoyi has been in operation three months ago, illegal fishing activities have substantially been curbed.

The Department took delivery of the Lilian Ngoyi in November last year, being the first of three state-of-the-art inshore environmental protection vessels commissioned by the Department in its efforts to boost fishery compliance.



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