The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape welcomes the 34 arrests made by SAPS and law enforcement officers on Robben Island and in Simons Town yesterday in connection with the illegal poaching and processing of abalone. This is an incredibly serious crime which threatens to decimate populations of this marine snail which will have dire consequences on our environmental biodiversity, and on the Western Cape’s provincial economy.
The presence of abalone poachers in a protected marine reserve goes to show the extent to which abalone has already been wiped out in traditional coastal areas.
Andricus van der Westhuizen, MPP says: “I will be writing to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell requesting a collaboration between his Department, the SAPS, and Interpol to tackle this transnational crime”.
MPP van der Westhuizen adds: “I want to commend the work of SAPS and law enforcement regarding the 34 arrests made. I trust that these arrests lead to convictions with harsh sentences and that further investigations unveil information to dismantle future operations and bring organisers of these crimes to book. Given the international nature of this crime, a collaboration between SAPS, criminal intelligence, and Interpol is crucial to protecting abalone as a species and the Western Cape’s unique marine environment as a whole”.
Abalone poaching has cost South Africa 96 million individual abalone worth R10 billion between 2000 to 2016 alone. Abalone poaching has become an increasingly difficult illegal operation to control and the impact it has both on the economy, and more importantly the fishing industry, is devastating.
The combined efforts by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), SAPS and law enforcement officers, and the international community will go a long way in curbing the detrimental effects of poaching on our environment and economy. The DA in the Western Cape will continue to lobby for the protection and preservation of our oceanic environment and our marine resources.