Coast KZN

25 Jan 2021

Richards Bay poachers down but not out

Dave Savides (Zululand Observer) Picture: A small grunter is released from one of the six 600m-long gillnets recovered

The relentless pursuit of illegal gillnetters in the harbour and recreational areas of Richards Bay continues, with another success logged last week.

‘We encountered two poacher boats at around 11pm last Monday night, but they paddled furiously and managed to beach their boats and flee into the bush,’ said one North Coast Anti-Poaching Group volunteer. However, we were able to confiscate the boats and six gillnets, each about 600 m long, in the Bay Hall area.’

He said that, while they managed to free 94 fish, 107 had already perished, among them rock salmon and grunter.

The latest haul indicates that the many raids, while succeeding in burning boats and impounding gear, are hardly denting the poaching activities that are devastating fish stocks in the port nursery area.

‘There is no doubt that this is not hungry subsistence fishermen looking for a meal; this is commercial fish harvesting on a massive scale,’ said the NCAP member.