The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has made an earnest call on the public, particularly tourists to coastal towns and cities to help in the continuous campaign to curb the "illegal and irresponsible exploitation" of marine resources. "October to December has always been a period during which the highest number of poaching incidences is reported or consignments of abalone and rock-lobsters confiscated by our officials and other law enforcement agencies," said spokesperson, Lionel Adendorf.
In October and November this year alone, 143,391 units of abalone - around 16-tons - were confiscated, he reported. "During Christmas and Easter there are more people in coastal cities and towns and activities on our beaches are also increasing as more and more holiday-goers and bathers flock to our beachfronts." As such, DAFF said, it means that holiday season will bring more eyes and ears that can be useful in anti-poaching drive.
"Therefore encourage everyone who notice any suspicious fishing activities to call our Fisheries Tip-off line on +27 28 313 2703 or +27 28 312 2609," he urged. Members of the public can also call the nearest police station or the CrimeStop-line on 08600 10111 or the South African Police Service’s Emergency number on 10111.
"Given what was reported in the media during the last two weeks, we would like to assure the public that we take all poaching-related tip-offs very serious and will leave no report unattended. At times we might not act within the time that an informer expect us to but because of what seems like a delay in their eyes, it does not necessarily mean that we are not attending to the reported incident. Secondly, we would also like to caution that we will not always be able to respond in the way that those who informed us of a particular incident would want us to but once all relevant factors were considered, we will determine the best course of action," Adendorf said.