270809 AMID increased crayfish poaching along KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline, KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife officials have welcomed the slapping of a R100 000 fine or two years imprisonment on Howick crayfish poacher Paul Wilfred Ferguson. Bust for catching 47 crayfish at Hyde Park beach at Nonoti on the North Coast, nine of which were undersized, Ferguson was convicted in the Stanger Magistrate’s Court on Friday. He was convicted for not having a licence, exceeding the daily bag limit of eight crayfish and being in possession of undersized crayfish. R85 000 of his sentence was suspended for five years on condition he was not convicted of the same offence, and Ferguson walked free after paying R15 000. Welcoming Ferguson’s conviction, Ezemvelo spokesman Wayne Munger said there had been a noticeable increase in the number of crayfish offences that KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife staff were encountering. He said this was due to high prices paid for crayfish on the black market. “Hopefully the sentence that Ferguson got will serve as a wake-up call to others who are catching crays illegally,” said Munger. Munger said Ezemvelo |KZN Wildlife conducted |regular patrols along the 620km stretch of coastline from Port Edward to Kosi Bay, and prosecuted as many as 1 200 offenders of the Marine Living Resources Act every year, 20 percent of which are crayfish related. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officer Selvan Pillay said he |had been working on a marine patrol when he and his |team noticed Ferguson diving at Hyde Park beach on Thursday. “We concealed ourselves and watched what he was doing. He left the water with a bag and hid it in the bushes,” said Pillay. “When we confronted him, he was really shocked, but there was nothing he could do,” said Pillay. “We found 47 crayfish in his bag, nine of which undersized. He acknowledged that he had broken the law.” Massive fine for poacher Howick man gets R100 000 or two years, writes Fred Kockott Above: Crayfish can be legally caught with a permit valid from March to October every year, but there is bag limit of eight a day and a size limit of 65mm, measured, as above, from between the horns at the front of the head to end of the carapace. Crayfish smaller than this must be returned to the sea. Left: Caught red-handed with this illegal crayfish catch, Paul Wilfred Ferguson from Howick was fined R100 000 in the Stanger Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Cape Town - A 57-year-old woman has been arrested for the alleged illegal possession of crayfish, with a street value of R75 000, in Cape Town, Western Cape police said on Friday.

“On Thursday, at about 2pm Grassy Park police received information about an overwhelming smell of fish from a house at Correy Road, Eagle Park,” Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said.

“Upon investigation members found a white bakkie standing outside, and could also see that there was something loaded at the back covered with a blanket.”

However, there was no one in the bakkie, so police went into the house where they found a woman who admitted the vehicle belonged to her.

“The vehicle was searched and police discovered crayfish tails at the back of the bakkie,” Kinana said.

“The 3727 crayfish tails, to the estimated street value of R75 000 were confiscated. The suspect is expected to appear in the Wynberg (Magistrate's) Court on Monday.”