SOUTH AFRICA: Nine Fisheries Control Officials have been arrested by the Hawks in the Cape Town Overberg region in connection with abalone poaching.
The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) issued a statement to confirm its support of the investigations.
“This forms part of DAFF’s efforts in enhancing discipline and integrity amongst its workforce by ensuring that reported allegations of corruption is dealt with through the relevant State systems,” the statement said.
The police have made significant arrests and seizures since the beginning of the year in connection with abalone poaching and processing, but the crime continues to plague the resource.
Last week the Hawks’ Eastern Cape Serious Organised Crime members confiscated 1.6 tons of Abalone at the Durban harbour.The value of the seized goods estimated to be worth more than R2.6 million. The seizure emanates from information received from a similar seizure which occurred on 26 January 2018 at the Port Elizabeth harbour in the Eastern Cape.
During last month’s confiscation 8.6 tons of Abalone was seized. The abalone which was seized last month was valued at R18 million. No one has been detained, however, arrests are eminent.
Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, which abalone poaching is classified under, is a global challenge that threatens world food security and ecosystems, and South Africa is not exempted from this phenomenon.
DAFF understands there is a need for organised international communities to work collaboratively in dealing with IUU fishing. As a result, DAFF has ensured that South Africa ratifies the United Nations’ FAO: Port State Measure agreement whose objective is to curb IUU fishing. DAFF also plays an integral role in enhancing collaborative efforts through relevant structures of SADC and Interpol in order to curb IUU fishing in the region.