For most of my life I have been a commercial fisherman and despite spending most of my days on the water, I still make time for recreational fishing. However, as a result of an injury, I could not enjoy this hobby for many months.
In February I heard people were catching cob from the beach and I was keen to get in on the action on 17 February. I caught some mullet for live bait and transported them to the beach in a 30-litre dustbin. It was busy and several anglers were trying their luck. However, as it goes with fishing, I lost one trace after another, as I was not using steel traces and there was a lot of shark activity. The other anglers were not fairing much better and every so often they would catch sharks.
I caught two sharks, kept one and released the other. One of my colleagues who accompanied me assisted some of the other fishermen to unhook sharks and several of them gave their catch to him.
These sharks were placed in the dustbin. On Friday, 26 February, I learned that my unsuccessful cob outing had featured in the Mossel Bay Advertiser. I was further surprised to learn that a 30-litre dustbin had turned into a large garbage can filled to the brim with sharks.
I have a pristine record as a commercial fisherman and have never so much as received one fine or warning despite the fact that my and other commercial fishing activities are constantly monitored by the authorities.
Due to over exploitation of our coastlines, life for us as commercial fishermen has become challenging as catches dwindle. For this reason, I support the conservation of our marine resources as this, on its part, protects my livelihood. I therefore urge readers to report irregularities to the authorities.
The article that I refer to is, however, shocking and it is absurd that somebody would suggest that I was attempting to make commercial gain from a recreational trip while at the same time placing my livelihood at risk.
It is further shocking that media is used to make exaggerated and untruthful statements. I urge your paper to allow the authorities to do the necessary investigations and not to act as judge and jury on matters that could ruin the ability of people to earn an income to support their families.