The City of Cape Town coordinated a high visibility law enforcement operation over the weekend as part of the City’s integrated approach to marine law enforcement. The operation involved the City’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit, the Table Mountain National Park Marine Unit, the South African Police Service Border Control Unit and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The West Coast rock lobster fishing season opened on Saturday 15 November 2014, but rough seas and windy weather kept most fishermen at home. Officials inspected 31 vessels and checked 64 recreational fishing permits. A total of 72 West Coast rock lobsters were caught, most of which were landed at the Kommetjie slipway.
The weather conditions improved considerably on Sunday, with many recreational fishermen taking the opportunity to catch their daily bag limit of four lobsters. Officials inspected 60 vessels at the Miller’s Point, Witsands and Kommetjie boat launch sites. They also checked 134 rock lobster permits, with 452 lobsters harvested.
Only one fine of R5 000 was issued for a contravention in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, for possession of 291 ‘alikreukel’ without a permit.
‘The success achieved over the past weekend is testament to the efficacy and purpose of working together with committed partners such as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Table Mountain National Park’s Marine Unit; and the South African Police Service’s Border Control Unit whose officers participated in the operation over the course of the weekend and displayed their ongoing commitment to marine and environmental law enforcement,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan Van der Merwe.
Safety of vessels going to sea was high on the list of priorities and all vessels were inspected for seaworthiness before launching at the Kommetjie slipway. The general level of compliance was high and only two vessels were refused entry to launch for not being seaworthy. Only one minor incident occurred with a fisherman fishing from a paddle board and struggling to gain the shore in the strong winds on Saturday. He was assisted by two City Marine Unit rescue swimmers.
‘We strongly urge all fishermen to obtain, and comply with, the necessary permits to fish. Recreational fishermen should ensure that they are familiar with the regulations, restricted areas, daily bag and size limits for all recreational fishing species while commercial fishermen should ensure that they comply with their permit conditions in order to avoid prosecution,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Any illegal activity can be reported to the City’s law enforcement control room on 021 596 1999.