FISHERMEN along the Durban North and uMhlanga coast have denied they are taking advantage of a perceived lack of enforcement by authorities. Last week, Northglen News spoke to anglers on uMhlanga and Virginia Beach, who said they obeyed the law especially when it comes to overfishing.
In April last year, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) took over Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s contract to look after the coastlines. For 32 years Ezemvelo was responsible for maintaining wildlife conservation areas and biodiversity in KZN.
While many have said the switch has had a detrimental effect on KZN’s coastline due to the potential of overfishing, fishermen say this is not true.
Speaking to the newspaper under condition of anonymity, one angler said he has always respected the ocean and rule of law.
“There aren’t as many patrols on the beach as there were when Ezemvelo were in charge but I have never caught more than my bag limit. I even carry my measuring chart with me as well as my license. While I can speak for myself and a few other anglers, I’ve seen WhatsApp messages with photos of some fishermen catching well over the bag limit, but that is not true for all of us. I fish recreationally and I always respect the law,” he said.
Last week, DAFF chief control conservation inspector Dino Govender told our sister paper, the North Coast Courier that they are issuing a firm warning to those who are caught engaging in illegal fishing activities.
“Ezemvelo was about educating people but we are not about that. If people are caught fishing at a protected zone they are arrested and a criminal case is opened against them. More than 30 people were arrested in Durban and surrounds during June just for fishing in protected areas. With bag limits, people are fined and charged according to the type of fish, the amount and the size,” he said in an interview with the Ballito based paper.