Those who fish for a living outnumbered by poachers

Lando Alcock with a kob caught with a crystal flash lead head

The global estimate is that about 200 million people rely directly on the ocean economy for a living, fishing daily for survival.

However, the figure of how many are illegally active poachers must exceed this estimate without contest. I am not talking organised crime vessels and other syndicates either.

Just yesterday, a vehicle was apprehended in the Western Cape with more than 8 000 units of perlemoen in transit.

We also see the scourge of illegal fishing on our doorstep at our very own Swartkops estuary, surely the most researched estuary in the country.

Gill netting and illegal methods of bait collection are a daily problem and yet it continues with mostly only volunteer support to combat it.

The Honorary Marine Conservation Officers programme (of which I was an active member) was discontinued by making yearly re-applications and red tape procedures simply unacceptable to many of us.

Re-applying yearly is just not on. Where are track records taken into consideration, along with the 36 hours per month mandatory service being considered as active commitment?

You do your work too well and there are consequences!

Reports of recreational people being threatened, increasingly with weapons, by these poachers are also not infrequent. This is a new approach by the poachers and it only remains a matter of time before someone is a real victim of these circumstances that have escalated to near-crisis proportions, it seems.

On to a more pleasant topic, there have been reports of large kob being caught and tagged with acoustic tags.

Acoustic tags are surgically inserted in the abdomen of the fish (mostly kob and a few spotted grunter) and their movements are then monitored by underwater listening stations that have been strategically positioned around the coast and in rivers of the Eastern Cape.

If such an acoustic tag is recovered, do call Paul Cowley on 082TAGFISH and report it to him.

These devices are valuable and can be re-used. There may even be an incentive to return such a tag. They can be identified only by the white and blue SAIAB tag.

The yellow tags used by Oceanic Research Institute do not have these tag devices.

Please return all tagged fish regardless; however should you keep a fish and discover one of these acoustic tags then do as suggested above.

This time of the year artificial lure angling is most productive and one can easily catch onto the art of this type of angling.

Some good-sized kob are being caught at present, especially in the estuaries. It is inexpensive and there are some good anglers out there who would be willing to introduce this form of angling to you. Most art-lure anglers are catch and release anglers.

There are good prospects for rain today with a prevailing medium to strong westerly wind becoming easterly tomorrow, turning east on Sunday morning and changing to southerly in the afternoon.

However, the wind will moderate throughout the day.

On Sunday, the moon phase is first quarter. High tide is at 7.29am tomorrow morning, with cool air temperatures expected, while the sea water temperature remains at 17.7°C.

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