11 July 2019 - NW113
Singh, Mr N to ask the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
What are the full relevant details of the (a) progress her department has made in the fight against abalone poaching along the Western Cape Coastline, particularly in the coastal communities of Gansbaai, Kleinbaai, Franskraal and Pearly Beach where abalone poaching remains rife and (b) additional steps that will be taken by her department in co-operation with the SA Police Service, law enforcement agencies and other specialised environmental law enforcement bodies to eradicate this scourge from the coastline?
a) There has been an increase in the number of enforcement operations conducted in the Gansbaai, Kleinbaai, Franskraal and Pearly Beach areas which have been identified as hot spots for abalone poaching. During the 2018/19 financial year, 10 (ten) operations took place in the Overberg area in the Western Cape under Initiative 5 of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) — the Enhanced and Co-ordinated Compliance and Enforcement Programme. This initiative has created a platform to achieve an integrated and coordinated approach to ensure compliance with, inter alia, the South African Maritime Legislative and Regulatory frameworks within the coastal regions. These operations are a combination of proactive and reactive operations, focused in some instances on visible policing and, in others, are aimed at disrupting illegal activities and apprehending poachers.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OUESTION NO.33 NW990E
These operations resulted in arrests of some key role players and the confiscation and seizure of equipment used in illegal harvesting. Overall confiscations during Initiative S Phakisa operations for the 2018/19 financial year were R28 022 983, with the value of confiscated abalone and rock lobster being R21 317 365 and R675 050, respectively, with most of the abalone confiscated coming from the Overberg region. Confiscated equipment associated with illegal activity in the coastal region amounted to R5 052 160 for the same period. In the last six months, there have been four operations over 81 days, together with other law enforcement agencies where approximately 539 potential poachers were prevented from diving and 40 arrests were made.
b) The Department will continue to engage the South African Police Services around the approval and implementation of a medium-term deployment plan that will ask for additional resources in the affected areas to increase Government’s response to illegal harvesting of marine resources. In addition, we are looking at the dynamics driving demand, illicit exports and markets for illegal trade and obtaining a comprehensive threat assessment.
Operation Phakisa will also continue to undertake compliance and enforcement operations in the Overberg Region. Both proactive and reactive operations will be planned to ensure Government has a visible presence in the high-risks areas. The ongoing collaboration with the SANDF’s Operation Corona as a force multiplier will continue to have a positive impact on operations.
MS B D CREECY, MP
MINISTER OF ENYIRONMENT, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY QUESTION NO. 33 N\/Y990E