By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi
The portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries in Parliament proposed tough penalties against people involved in illegal fishing.
Chairperson of the committee Lulu Johnson said yesterday they welcomed the government’s crackdown on illegal shipping vessels on the country’s coastline.Johnson said those found guilty for this crime must be punished severely.
He said the fact that 10 foreign ships were seized over illegal fishing showed that the government was tightening the noose on poaching.
He said that the fact that there had been several arrests since October was a demonstration by the government to root out illegal fishing.
The seized foreign ships had changed their names to avoid detection. Johnson, an ANC MP, said anti-poaching measures must be tightened.
He described illegal fishing as tantamount to terrorism and called on those involved to be punished severely.
“As the committee we equate all these illegal fishing activities by strong coalition of both local and foreign fishers to an act of terrorism, and have no reservations in the anti-poaching interventions by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies,” Johnson said.
The finalisation of the Marine Living Resources Bill would also help in fighting illegal fishing.
The Bill was approved by the National Assembly two weeks ago and was currently before the National Council of Provinces.
While the department had wanted Parliament to finalise the Bill before the end of the year this was not possible as MPs were in recess. More....