Twenty-two (22) men arrested for 2 900 abalone
24 Aug 2012
Fourteen men will appear in the Hermanus Magistrates Court on Monday (27 August 2012) after they were arrested by Fisheries Control Officers (FCOs) of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in three separate incidents of abalone poaching in Gansbaai yesterday.
Eight men, arrested by DAFF’s Fisheries Protection Vessel-team early this morning while diving for abalone at Robben Island, will also appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Yesterday afternoon, following information from the public, FCOs foiled the plans by 19 divers when they were preparing themselves to dive for abalone at danger Point in Gansbaai. Three men were arrested and the others managed to run away. Our officials confiscated 377 units of abalone, diving gear as well as a GPS.
At around 20h15 the same team set chase after a silver Nissan Maxima. The driver and a passenger both abandoned the vehicle on the R43 and on investigation, our officials found 1 761 units of abalone in it.
Moments later on the same road our officials also stopped a Nissan Hardbody Double-cab and arrested the driver and 10 other passengers after they discovered 343 units of abalone inside the vehicle.
Our FPV-team was forced to shoot the engines of a rubber-duck this morning when, in an attempt to frustrate our efforts to arrest them, a group of illegal divers rammed our vessel with it at Robben Island.
Four divers were arrested and four others surrendered themselves on the island. The 8-meter long rubber-duck was confiscated as well as 416 units of abalone.
Apart from marine-related charges that will be laid against the men, it was also decided that due to the violent nature of the actions of the poachers, a case of attempted murder will also be laid against them.
DAFF congratulates both teams for the sterling work done in all four incidents and would like to assure those who have intentions of exploiting our resources in this irresponsible way that we will not allow any acts of violence or intimidation to stop us from protecting our valuable marine resources.
These officials, who at times put their lives at risk in executing their duties, will continue with our national campaign undeterred and with more vigilance and we call on all law-abiding South Africans to join hands with DAFF and other law-enforcement agencies in our effort to stop poaching.
For more information, please contact:
Lionel Adendorf, Director: Communication Services (Fisheries) in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Cell: +27 76 267 5838
Tel: +27 21 402 3555.
Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
24 Aug 2012
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