GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - Anglers in contravention of Section 58 of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 (MLRA) and found guilty of an offence may be found liable, on conviction, to pay a fine not exceeding two million rand, or to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding five years.
This feedback came from Zolile Nqayi, director of communication services at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The Mossel Bay Advertiser contacted him last week, following an incident in Gouritsmond during which a group of fishermen were seen catching sharks.
The incident took place on Wednesday, 17 February at 18:00. In video material, three fishermen are seen on the beach in possession of a large, black rubbish bin filled to the brim with sharks. Six to seven more sharks can be seen on the sand around the bin.
The department responded, stating that in terms of the catch permit conditions for those in the commercial traditional line fishing sector for 2021, pertaining to use of a registered vessel, an exemption holder may not catch any shark on the prohibited species list.
An exemption holder in the traditional line fish sector may catch sharks (of the group Elasmobranchii) not listed in the prohibited species list, subject to a slot limit of 70cm to maximum size of 130cm.
The department could not, however, respond more specifically regarding the incident since the shark species referred to is unknown.
In terms of new developments in legislation, the department confirmed that it will in due course embark on a consultative process to amend the current regulation promulgated under the Marine Living Resources Act to afford more protection to a number of shark species.
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