Youth from Hangberg/Hout Bay poach with their rubber boats daily. Most youngsters from the community are not in school and choose to fish illegally as an alternative because of the socio-economic struggles in the community and because they make good money. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency
Youth from Hangberg/Hout Bay poach with their rubber boats daily. Most youngsters from the community are not in school and choose to fish illegally as an alternative because of the socio-economic struggles in the community and because they make good money. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency

Hangberg poachers allegedly use young boys to evade prosecution

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Feb 6, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town - Poachers in Hangberg, Hout Bay, are using young people to do their poaching, knowing they might not face the full might of the law if caught.

Poaching and illegal fishing among the youth has been on the increase in the Hangberg community as illustrated by an recent incident in which four boys were found stranded on their rubber boat in St Helena Bay after they were reported missing since Sunday.

A concerned mother, Greer

Follentine, 36, started to worry after her 17-year-old son went out on

Sunday afternoon with other boys and didn’t return.

Follentine said young boys in Hangberg often poached because they were not in school. They would fish every day in the week as long as the weather was good, and would often come back with crayfish, or make a good amount of money from it.

“I was pregnant with Shaun at 19 years old and his father was also a poacher since his teenage years. He would come home with crayfish or abalone, which brought in a lot of income. The money from poaching supported us,” she said.

Poachers in Hangberg, Hout Bay, are using young people to do their poaching, knowing they might not face the full might of the law if caught. Pictured is Greer Follentine. Photographer: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Shaun left school at the age of 12. Follentine said her son had told her he would like to become a fisherman, however there was no proper support in the community to help the youth make better decisions.

She said she was relieved to receive the call that her son was found because his father drowned 15 years ago after he went out poaching.

Hout Bay community activist Roscoe Jacobs said: “Youth getting involved with poaching has become a massive problem around the area. They are putting themselves at risk when out at sea, and they are doing this because there are no other alternative activities in their community.”

Jacobs said poaching was a large money-making industry, and there were people outside Hangberg who got the young men to poach for them. They can make more than R1000 after one evening of poaching.

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Poachers in Hangberg, Hout Bay, are using young people to do their poaching, knowing they might not face the full might of the law if caught. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Resident and Hout Bay activist, Lee Smith, said: “Local fishermen not being able to work for a legal income in the fishing industry has forced them to get involved with poaching. Most of the youth are leaving school to poach instead.

“The Hangberg community has been sidelined and there does not seem to be a proper will from the government to help these people.”

Hangberg resident Elgita Carolus, 33, said that her son also started poaching because there is no work for him even though he passed his matric with a bachelors pass. He knows that diving and illegal fishing brings in good money and they are watching the rest of the community do the same which makes them think it is okay.

“The youth in the community would like to fish for income and work on the big boats but there are no ups-killing programmes available for them,” said Carolus.

SAPS spokesperson Noloyiso

Rwexana confirmed that the Hout Bay police and other stakeholders worked tirelessly to locate the missing boys. The files were closed after they were united with their families.

Environmental Affairs spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said: “The fisheries patrol vessels patrol the oceans.

Obviously when poachers spot the vessels or boats, they simply dump whatever they were poaching and make a run into the surrounding

communities.

“The coastline is patrolled regularly for illegal fishing and poaching. But is has to be borne in mind that South Africa’s coastline is over 3000m long, stretching from the Northern Cape to Northern KwaZulu-Natal.”

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

@Sukainaish

sukaina.ishma[email protected]

Cape Argus

Share this article: