Japanese trawlers in SA waters legally: department

Japanese trawlers in SA waters legally: department

The Fisheries Department says the Japanese trawlers that have been spotted fishing off the coast of Port Edward have permission to do so.

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The department's Palesa Mokomele says the Koei Maru No.1, the Fukuseki Maru No.31 and a third vessel obtained legal permits to operate in the country's waters

"I can confirm that there are three Japanese trawlers in our waters. The trawlers are operating under a DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) issued permit. It's [valid] from 1 March until the 31 January 2018," she said.

The vessels were spotted this week in KZN, raising concern among local fishermen.

ALSO READ: Captured Chinese trawlers released

Desmond d'Sa, of the KZN Subsistence Fisherfolk says fishermen say foreign fishing vessels are putting their livelihood in jeopardy.

"There are a number of KZN subsistence fisherfolk and fishing communities on the South Coast, as far as Port Edward, who have called in to us and indicated that there trawlers coming in under the darkness of night and raping the ocean by taking the fish out," he said.

In May last year, up to nine Chinese fishing vessels were pursued by patrol ship, Victoria Mxenge and the South African Navy after they were spotted fishing illegally around Durban, Port St Johns and Cape Recife.

While they were being escorted to the Port of Saldanha Bay for inspection, eight made a run for it and began sailing off in different directions.

The remaining vessel was detained, along with its crew who were later fined after appearing in court.


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