OperationPhakisa: Unlocking SA's ocean economy
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Bass, tilapia, tarpon and barbel were caught in the net, but surprisingly no mullet, which shows how badly stocks have been descimated after an illegal gill net was pulled from the Illovo River on Tuesday, 3 October.
cores of fish, four nets of over 100 metres in length and three men were nabbed by environmental warriors on the Illovo River on Tuesday, 3 October.
Jay Naidoo received calls that there were gill nets in the river and, after alerting Illovo Business Park manager, Ken Lombard, rushed down to Lower Illovo.
“We found their vehicle there, which we parked in and saw three men pulling in the nets,” said Jay.
Fellow river guardians, George Snodey and Emile Pirzenthal were called. Three nets had already been pulled from the river and Emile pulled a fourth out. Some of the nets were over 100 metres long, running parallel to the river bank and across the width of the river.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) was called out.
“What impressed us was how eager DAFF was to come out and get these guys. They said they are having a nightmare to police illegal gill netters across the province, from Richards Bay to the Transkei,” said Snodey.
Jay Naidoo returns a fish to the water.
What fish could be saved were thrown back into the water, over 200, but scores lay dead on the banks. These included juvenile perch, juvenile rock salmon, juvenile bass, tilapia, tarpon and barbel and two bass of over 2kg.
“Interesting there were no mullet,” said Jay. “There used to be shoals of mullet in the river, so it shows how badly their stocks have been decimated.”
George Snodey, Jay Naidoo and Emile Pirzenthal search for live fish to return to the water.
When questioned, the driver of the vehicle said he was from Inanda and was paid R400 to transport the illegal fishermen.
It is suspected a second vehicle had already left with a load of fish before the men were apprehended.