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Shad / Elf : Protected Species? by Robin Flood

Shad in False Bay
Shad in False Bay

 

On Saturday 09/02/2013, the Arendse Netters did a ‘trek’ at Strandfontein, Cape Town. What they did was haul a massive load of Elf/Shad… and Cob. They use an old white Isuzu bakkie to load the fish to transport and to launch their boat. Joining them happened to be another bakkie, I am told owned by ‘Aziz’, a fish broker, who supplies fish to Gauteng. They filled up the Arendse’s bakkie with all the legal sized fish and this ‘Aziz’ took the smaller and undersized fish. They are using a loophole in the law, as I am told that the title holder (Arendse) did nothing wrong and cannot be charged. So, basically, Aziz could be fined if he was caught, but the Arendse’s license is protected. Obviously ‘Aziz’ would have rewarded Arendse for all the undersized fish! Arendse could have just kept the lot for himself, it would have been the same result. If they get away with this, then what is the point of size limits on fish? These Seine netters should be held responsible for the content of their nets. Clearly, they are selling off the smaller fish and allowing someone else to take the risk.
And we wonder why people don’t like the Seine Netters and want to see them gone forever.
The very day that no inspectors were there (Saturday), they raped the beach. Attached are some pics. In the one, you can see a very small cob in the middle on the back of a bakkie. This is why they should not be allowed to do what they do. If they had respect for the ocean, they would never have a second bakkie running the ‘hot’ merchandise out of there. Besides, I also have it on good authority that the manner in which the few fish that were returned were put back, was absolutely nauseating. They were treated like yesterday’s garbage and just hurled toward the water.
I know a marine lawyer that is close to these netters (and was in contact with this exact netter today regarding this) has implied that since the netter never took the undersized fish himself, there is nothing anyone can do.
How much longer will this go on? Are we not beyond this archaic form of fishing? Clearly this netter has no regard for law or nature.  What entitles him to have a commercial fishing license when this kind of abuse is so blatant. Here are the photo’s, there were witnesses, what more must we as South African citizens do to protect our marine resources?
Regards Robin Flood

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