[UPDATE: We have published an exclusive follow up with new information which you can read HERE]
The Transkei’s natural resources have become the easiest target of exploitation in South Africa. Not only are major companies targeting the areas for mines, but local police are spraying toxins over marijuana fields which are poisoning more than just the plants.
The latest issue to rise is the ransacking of fish along the coastlines.
Various posts on social media have suggested that boats belonging to the Chinese take to the coastline at night, then disappear before morning comes. Now, if you have been along the Transkei coastline, you might have witnessed the excessive amount of lights seen along the coast at night.
Graham Rhodes of Salt Water South Africa shared the below photograph of the boats during the day along with a caption reading:
These 3 long liners/trawlers joined me off shore of the Transkei on my last visit. Interesting facts…All painted identically. All with the same name. No flags. I couldn’t trace them on my vessel tracing app. Fished for about a week in the vicinity of a proclaimed M P A (marine protected area).
Pretty deep, right? It carries on:
Mark Hicks posted a few images to Salt Fishing South Africa, along with the another questioning caption:
Can someone explain to me why, as an armchair warrior with a cellphone and a cheap android application I can identify at least half a dozen Chinese fishing trawlers that mysteriously disappeared whilst travelling along our Transkei coastline last night? The screenshots below show how these vessels all disappeared from 9 to 3am this morning in an area known to be holding sardines amassing for their annual migration.
Surely, as Africa’s military powerhouse that has spent billions on naval vessels to protect our coastline from poachers and hostile forces, who has a multi-billion Rand budget for vessel monitoring and around the clock operations, our navy should be doing this???
Or is it true that every one of our vessels is parked off in harbour either because one of our wonderful technicians/captains broke them, crashed them or don’t have the slightest clue on how to maintain them? Is it true that our control rooms might as well be unmanned because of the unwritten executive orders to overlook Chinese trawlers in our waters and general ineptitude?
What are the chances, really, that each and every one of these vessels is NOT loaded to the hilt with our sardines? What are the chances that they aren’t about to hook up with a larger processing vessel shortly to offload their catch and take another swipe at our stocks illegally? I mean all it takes, apparently, is to switch off their AIS beacons…. And here we are thinking up all sorts of climatic reasons that the sardine migration doesn’t happen – meanwhile it’s because our sardines are on the tables of our Chinese masters that have lined our SA politicians pockets…..
I challenge our SA navy to prove that they haven’t been shown to be irrelevant by someone with a cellphone and a R50 ship tracking application.
Here are the pictures:
Within the comment section of that post, various people shared maps of their areas, from as far down as Port Alfred. Check here for all that.
For obvious reasons, this has angered both local fishermen and conservationists.
Many local fisherman believe that this is an easy way, for a corrupt government to sell out its people (which it has a long track record of doing) to a foreign government so corrupt individuals can make a killing. These corrupt officials do not care if the price of fish goes up or there is no food for future generations. They only care about the money lining their pockets.
So much so, that there are reports of local conservationists getting so frustrated with the complete lack of enforcement around these trawlers fishing in Marine Protected Areas that some have taken it upon themselves to take pot shots at poaching trawlers. With at least once incident where the local reported returning fire.
Now these questions will probably be left unanswered, but here’s another one: How can South Africa keep lowering the fishing quotas of local fishermen who actually need the jobs, and not do anything about these rogue trawlers who are clearly taking advantage of our resources?
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