Photo: City of Cape Town

In Melkbosstrand, at about 1am on Monday, the Law Enforcement Marine Unit Auxiliary members sprung into action, after being informed by the Melkbos Anti Poaching Unit (APU) of poachers walking into the ocean towards the Culture Centre.

"The officers went to Holbaai to cut them off when they spotted a white Honda with four men loading two bags into the vehicle," the City said.

A chase ensued and at Eerstesteen they abandoned their vehicle, leaving bags behind in the boot which appeared to contain abalone. But upon inspection the officers realised it was only a decoy, to prevent them from finding the abalone that had been hidden.

"They proceeded back to where the vehicle was first observed and with the assistance of the APU, Avenue Response Security the and SAPS the officers tracked the spoor of the carriers into the bush and found them lying under a bush with the bags. 

"They then jumped up and fled, but an officer managed to pin the one nearest to him to the ground and arrested him after a short scuffle. The car and the suspect were taken with the abalone to SAPS Melkbosstrand, where it was counted and bagged."

In total, 1 091 units of abalone were recovered. The suspect was arrested for being illegally in possession of abalone.

On Sunday night, the City's Marine Unit, in a joint operation with SANParks, stopped two boats in False Bay that were operating without navigational lights and even had unlicensed skippers manning them. 

The boats also had baited crayfish traps on board. The traps – 27 in total  – were confiscated and the crews ordered to return to shore, the City said.