Prevention better than cure

WE HAVE as recently as last week witnessed yet another illegal fish smuggling operation being taken down. The penalties cannot be severe enough as things continue to escalate it seems.

But the sad part of the whole story is that the damage is already done by the time things are uncovered, and sadly, the evidence is later destroyed, which is a terrible waste.

Environmental law enforcement is extremely challenging and is reliant on information from the public.

Manpower shortages in this sector are also a huge obstacle, as it requires skills and training that are specialised.

To succeed in combating these poaching activities a “prevention is better than cure tactic” is needed, which requires around-the-clock monitoring and surveillance.

This is extremely costly when it comes to equipment and huge manpower requirements.

Being a specialised field, the recruiting of personnel is also cumbersome.

My passion for the Swartkops River stems back 45 years from the time I first cast a line in there.

In my opinion it is the most angled, written about and researched river in South Africa. That tells you something.

The Zwartkops Conservancy has been lobbying for the preservation of the Swartkops, going back to 1968.

If it were not for such organisations, where would we be today? There have recently been two studies done on the Swartkops – toxicology and bait stock assessments.

We wait eagerly for the published results of these studies.

Angling in the Eastern Cape is alive and well. Compared to any other part of the country we are privileged. In fact the Eastern Cape can stand proud globally.

Our wildlife in general is a jewel that can compare to anywhere else in the world.

This time of year many fishermen pack up and venture off to those dream destinations. They say a change is like a holiday.

One reader, Gary Dysel, spent time with a few friends at Nosy Be Island in Madagascar recently and caught this (pictured) magnificent kingfish of approximately 30kg.

They used small bonito’s as live bait. These fish fight to the death and suffer barotraumas so it sadly was not released.

From a “Reel Time” perspective this column is one year old today.

I would like to take the time to thank all for their input. Mostly positive but I welcome all criticism as this only puts perspective on things.

I chose the name “Reel Time” as it is essentially an angling column with the “real” perspective of the balance between angling and the environment. I am and will always be an advocate for the sustainable use of the environment.

I am an avid opponent to exploitation and shall continue to defend the cause in combating the scourge that plagues us.

We all have the right to enjoy the fruits of the environment but that also gives us the right to its preservation too.

The mindset will not change easily without a drastic re-think of the penalties for transgressors.

The option of a fine as opposed to ‘incase ration’ should be reconsidered. This would be a big deterrent indeed.

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