It has been an eventful few days for our response team
Yesterday, our first point of call was to investigate a report from the public of potential gull nets in the Palmiet area. The team investigated the site and fortunately it was kelp heads playing tricks, even our team had to do a double take.
We want to take the opportunity to thank the public for these reports as every incident could lead to a discovery that would have been missed if you did not help us through observation. So please do not stop reporting anything that you think does not feel or look right.
Whilst on patrol another report regarding poachers in the Betty’s Bay Marine Reserve (Groenkoppies) was received.
When the team arrived on the scene the divers were already in the water. There were two groups (5 and 10 poachers) in the Marine Reserve, one group on each side of the island on the right of ‘Die Been’.
The team liaised with DAFF and Cape Nature for support and continued the observation until night fall.
As the assumed poachers were spanning over a vast area, the team attempted to keep track of the activity and reported findings as they occurred.
Today, 23 February 2018, the team conducted a foot patrol in the area where the poaching activity occurred to gain clarity on the poacher modus operandi. This data is captured and helps us with ensuring patrols are effective and aligned to the poaching activity.
The team found the shucking site and destruction was clear. Sizes of the shucked shells clearly show that the abalone was picked years before maturity was achieved.
The team continued with their coastal patrol and in Marine Drive a known poacher vehicle was spotted. The team followed the vehicle which came to a halt and 4 of approximately 10 poachers exited the vehicle running into the ocean. The team ran after them and attempted to stop them from entering the ocean, but unfortunately only managed to identify the poachers and not prevent them from entering the ocean.
DAFF and Cape Nature was contacted for support and arrived swiftly on the scene. Whilst observing another known poacher vehicle arrived in the area. DAFF stopped the vehicle for a routine search and one of the poachers, identified earlier, was lying in the back seat.
Whilst our team was returning home, after a few hours dealing with the poacher in transportation vehicle, another known poaching vehicle with 12 poachers on board, heading towards Pringle Bay was spotted.
The team pursued the vehicle and escorted them out of the area and continued monitoring the poachers to ensure that they do not make a further attempt to get to the ocean.
Even though we had a rocky day yesterday, we were able to achieve success today with the support of DAFF and Cape Nature. Two arrests, one confiscated vehicle and 18 poachers prevented from entering our ocean is what we aim to deliver.
To those that continue to support us and provide information, thank you and please continue to do so, as the data is vital to the success of our operation.
To report poaching activity in your area please reach out to the following contact numbers:
Marine Anti-Poaching Unit (Call, SMS, Whatsapp): 0609072326
Sea Watch (Call, SMS): 0829949300
Cape Nature: 0824530835
Overstrand Emergency: 0283138111