National 16.8.2016 02:20 pm

Richards Bay gill net fish poachers nabbed

Zululanders point to where the suspects were apprehended. Picture: Zululand Observer.

Zululanders point to where the suspects were apprehended. Picture: Zululand Observer.

The Richards Bay harbour has been the target of gill net poachers for the past three months.

Slick work following a pre-arranged plan of action led to the arrest of two gill net fish poachers at the Zululand Yacht Club on Wednesday evening, reports the Zululand Observer.

Gill nets are vertical fishing nets that trap fish by their gills.

The action started when Allan Heydorn and crew members Dawie Swanepoel and Roland Rhode were returning from a fishing outing on ski boat, ‘Exciter’.

Entering the Mzingazi channel close to Pelican Island in Richards Bay, they spotted the poachers’ skiff (flat-bottomed boat) in the darkness.

“My boat is big and ugly – dark brown in colour and has a military look about it, so they took off paddling furiously when they noticed we had seen them,” said Heydorn.

Having been targeted by gill net poachers for the past three months, the Zululand Yacht Club (ZYC) have set up a cellphone network that includes the police, their security company, Ezemvelo and ZYC members.

Lines were soon buzzing, and as Heydorn and his crew herded the skiff, which tried desperately to avoid capture until the super-fit rowers tired. A ‘welcome party’ had gathered at the slipway where SWAT security effected the apprehension of two young suspects, who were handed over to the SAPS’ water wing.

In the makeshift boat, they found four gill nets, which, together, were lengthy enough to have captured many hundreds of fish.

Caxton News Service

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