– Edited by Bev Mortimer
A big abalone bust on the St Francis Bay-Humansdorp R330 road at the beginning of March saw R340-k worth of abalone confiscated and the arrest of eight suspected abalone poachers hiding in the roadside bushes.
Collaboration between SAPS Humansdorp and Gqeberha K9 units, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs and a private security company led to the abalone bust. On 28 February the team received information of illegal poaching.
Team members took action and held way-lay duties on the R330 between Humansdorp and St Francis Bay. At about 7 am on 1 March the suspects were spotted hiding in the roadside bushes.
As police swooped on them they started running. Eight suspects were arrested but others got away.
On searching the bushes 2108 units of abalone diving equipment and other gear were confiscated.
The suspected poachers aged between 28-41 years-old were detained on charges of illegal possession of abalone, in contravention of the Marine Living Resource Act, 19 of 1998, Regulation 36 sub sect 1.
The men appeared in the Humansdorp Magistrates Court on 3 March.
The District Commissioner for the Sarah Baartman district, Maj Gen Zolani Xawuka, commended the law enforcement team for their resilient efforts in clamping down on illegal poachers.
He praised the excellent collaboration between team members to ensure endangered marine life is protected. He said the multi-disciplinary team set up to clamp down on abalone poachers along the Eastern Cape coastline is yielding positive results.
“Criminality knows no boundaries and police officers will be monitoring closely,” he warned.