Navy plays major role in impounding 600 tons of squid and other fish as well as foreign trawlers
The three foreign fishing vessels, escorted into East London harbour earlier this week by the SA Navy replenishment vessel and the DAFF vessel, Sarah Baartman, were carrying 600 tons of squid as well as other fish caught illegally. The vessels have been inspected and searched by a team comprising representatives of the SA Police Service, SARS Customs, Department of Home Affairs (Immigration) and the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). The vessels - Fu Yuan Yu 7880, Fu Yuan Yu 7881 and Run Da 617 – were picked up off the coast of East London using the Automated Identification System (AIS) fitted on the SAS Drakensberg (A301). According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the lead agency in the operation, it was established that the foreign vessels had “gear on board and had not applied to enter South Africa’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ)”. Rough seas made boarding impossible and fishery control officers maintained radio contact with the Chinese trawlers. When they increased speed the Drakensberg and Sarah Baartman responded and intercepted before taking up position for escort duties to East London. The sighting and reaction to the illegal presence of foreign vishing vessels in South African waters has again highlighted the importance of proper patrolling to prevent illegal fishing and poaching of maritime resources – a major component of the blue economy sector of Operation Phakisa.