Coast KZN

11 Oct 2016

Update: Crayfish arrest was legal, says DAFF

Judi Davis (South Coast Herald)


Contrary to what ‘Irate Fisherman’ said, the diver’s car was not at the site of the activity.

As promised last week, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has followed up on the South Coast Herald’s request for comment regarding allegations by ‘Irate Fisherman’ that a friend of his was unjustly arrested.

According to DAFF spokesman Palesa Mokomele, the diver who had been arrested with seven rock lobsters, as reported in the South Coast Herald last week, had not had a permit at the place where the activity had taken place and neither had his vehicle been there.

‘Irate Fisherman’ claimed that the diver’s permit had been left in his vehicle, parked near where he had been arrested.

It was the norm for fishermen to leave their licences in their cars when fishing and DAFF did give fishermen the opportunity to fetch their licences from vehicles, visibly present at the place of activity.

In this case the vehicle was not there. Ms Mokomele said officials had told her the suspect had asked to fetch his licence from home.

This opportunity had been denied him as it contravened permit conditions that clearly stated permits should be available for inspection at the place of activity.
“I would like to emphasise that the catch was not permissible without a valid licence at the place of activity. Bringing the licence to the police station after the violation of permit conditions does not give leeway to the suspect to allow him to be considered as not having committed an offence or transgression,” she explained.

Ms Mokomele also said the prosecutor had told her that the case had provisionally been withdrawn pending additional statements from DAFF officials.

The investigating officer would visit the officials concerned and take their statements as this had not yet been done.

DAFF would keep in touch with the prosecutor and would relay further information in this case to the South Coast Herald, she said.