FCOs have managed to seize the poached abalone late last week. (Photo: Stock File)
Govt busts seven poachers, seizes 3.2 tonnes of abalone
Friday, July 27, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’s anti-poaching campaign has led to the arrest of seven offenders and the confiscation of 26,429 units or 3.2 tonnes of abalone.
The abalone were confiscated in five different incidents of illegal poaching by the department with assistance from the South Africa Police Service and Fisheries Control Officers (FCOs), according to Fisheries Spokesperson Lionel Adendorf.
More seizures were made this week when police arrested a Chinese national in Milnerton who possessed 4,824 units or 424kg of wet shucked abalone and 328 units or 100kg of dry abalone worth ZAR 12 million (USD 1.4 million).
“This is probably the biggest bust for Milnerton police,” said Captain Cyril Dicks, Cape Times reports.
Police also noticed a car hidden amongst trees and bushes this week that turned out to contain some 3,346 units or 377kg of wet shucked abalone in various bags, Adendorf said.
Further, according to Adendorf, two men ran away early this week when they crashed their car into a house in Hermanus following a chase by police and FCOs. The car was found to hold 3,410 units or 530kg of wet shucked abalone.
In the largest confiscation this year thus far, five FCOs confiscated 10,408 units or 1,174.31kg of wet abalone when they arrested two men late last week. The vehicle in which they were travelling was hidden in the bushes at Salmonsdampad outside Stanford.
The men appeared in the Hermanus Magistrate's Court early this week and were remanded in custody. They will appear again at the same court on 7 August for bail application.
Members of the Western Cape Crime Intelligence and Flying Squad also arrested Vuyani Jobo, Sanele Mpati and Nyameko Tibisono at Canal Walk, Milnerton, last week when they were found to possess 4,315 units or 596.61kg of wet shucked abalone. The VW-kombi they were driving was impounded and they appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court last week; they will appear once more in the same court on 13 August.
"The department is very proud of the FCOs, who are doing their work so diligently and commend the SAPS for their continued support in our efforts to curb illegal poaching,” Adendorf commented. "We will continue to work with all law-enforcement agencies as these successes could only be achieved through strengthened, solid working relationships with them and we call on communities to join this campaign."
By Natalia Real