Cape Town - As authorities continued their fight against abalone poaching, an alleged poacher was arrested in Simon’s Town.
The man was held yesterday morning during a counter-poaching operation by SANParks Seam Team, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) Sea, Air, and Mountain special operations rangers.
SANParks spokesperson, Lauren Clayton said that the suspect was arrested after a high-speed chase followed between suspects and authorities.
“The Seam team pursued a vehicle of suspected abalone poachers in a high-speed car chase, which ended with the suspects crashing their vehicle. She said: “Four suspects emerged and ran away in different directions. Seam pursued one suspect on foot, while other members secured the vehicle.”
Three of the suspects escaped but the one who was subsequently arrested was apprehended by the highly skilled K9. In the vehicle, authorities discovered 234 units of abalone.
“Upon inspection of the vehicle, it was discovered to be carrying a substantial quantity of abalone.
“The seized contraband includes a total of 234 abalone, with 76 shucked and 158 in a whole state,” Clayton said.
The illegal harvesting of abalone is dealt with under the Marine and Living Resources Act.
Law Enforcement spokesperson, Wayne Dyason said it was a criminal offence to dive for sea life in the restricted areas.
“It is illegal to dive for abalone or rock lobster without a permit within the Table Mountain Marine Protected Area and the Robben Island Marine Protected Area,” he told Cape Argus.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town continues its support to the relevant role-players to ensure that poaching doesn't take place.
“The City, through its Marine Unit and area Law Enforcement officers, are constantly acting in support of the leading agents (DFFE, SANParks and SAPS) in the fight against illegal fishing and joint operations are routinely conducted to react to complaints and also be proactive,” Dyason said.
Clayton adds that the incident would be fully investigated by the relevant authorities.
“Authorities are currently conducting further investigations into the incident, and the arrested suspects will face charges related to the illegal possession and trafficking of abalone,” Clayton said.