Seized vessel is auctioned for R2.9 million
Feb 1, 2003
Author: Phindile Makwakwa, spokesperson: Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
On Friday (30 January 2003) the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) sold a fishing vessel for R2.9 million that was seized last year for over-fishing.
The fishing vessel, Cobelo, owned by SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd, was seized together with its gear, equipment and stores by the DEAT last year. It followed a yearlong investigation by the Scorpions (special investigative unit of the SA Police Services) together with DEAT compliance officers that revealed that fish worth more than R12 million have been illegally harvested.
Two thirds of the proceeds from the auction will be paid into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account and the other third to DEAT's Marine and Coastal Management Branch for law enforcement to improve our compliance.
"This must be interpreted as our seriousness to address over-fishing in our waters. We will embark on this programme until all matters pertaining to illegal fishing have been stopped," said Minister Valli Moosa. "We are doing this to conserve our fish resources, not only for this generation, but also for our future generations."
The Cobelo was operated by SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd, and entered into a joint venture with Hout Bay Fishing Industries (Pty) Ltd to harvest Hake on its behalf under an allocated quota of 750 000 kg. Hout Bay Fishing Industries exceeded this quota by nearly a million kilograms with the knowledge of SA Hake Fishing. The profit from the sales thereof was shared equally between the two companies. They were therefore accomplices in the undertaking of fishing activities in contravention of Section 13 of the Marine Living Resources Act by over-harvesting fish products.
Hout Bay Fishing was convicted in 2002 for illegal fishing activities and a penalty of approximately R40 million was imposed on the company.
SA Hake Fishing (Pty) Ltd was fined R150 000 as well as a further R100 000 fine for the owner of the company.
The vessel, Cobelo, was forfeited to the State.