Coast KZN

11 Oct 2021

Gill nets seized on uMngeni River

(Northglen News) Picture: Nkanyiso Shozi, an intern based at Green Corridors, shows some of the illegal gill nets recovered from the uMngeni River.

Several gill nets were removed and seized last week found at different points along the uMngeni River.

Siphiwe Rakgabale from environmental organisation Green Corridors said he was alerted to the gill nets by a subsistence fisherman who spotted the poachers removing a gill net underneath the M4 Ellis Brown Viaduct. The nets, often referred to as ‘floating curtains of death’ are set out stationary in the water and capture the fish by entanglement. Rakgabale said the nets target fish, crabs and shrimp.

“The reason why they are called the ‘floating curtains of death’ is because they kill marine species in their deadly embrace. The mesh sizes on the net allow fish to get only their head through but not their body. The fish’s gills then get caught in the mesh as the fish tries to back out of the net and they drown,” he explained. “In the past these poachers had targeted the river before as well as the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve. I was alerted to this by a fisherman who told me he was unhappy by what he had seen. His catch load is less which he feels is down to the illegal nets.

“It is clear these gill netters have placed traps on the river near the Connaught Bridge and the M4 bridge near the river mouth. They place the nets in the river overnight and remove them in the early morning. Through investigations we have found and seized some of the nets and discovered the poachers are living on the banks of the river. We have contacted the authorities to stop and charge the people involved,” Rakgabable said.