Operation Phakisa 5 multi disciplinary teams in the Overberg
The deployments of a multi disciplinary team to the Overberg region of the Western Cape has resulted in a number of notable successes against abalone poaching in the area.
The deployments, known as Operation Phakisa initiative 5, has once again been working in the Overberg Region since the beginning of October 2019.
Operation Phakisa Initiative 5 is the enhanced and coordinated Compliance and Enforcement Initiative within the maritime environment, and active within all South Africa’s coastal provinces. Led by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries the operation involves teams including Border Police, Fisheries officials, Nature Conservation and local Law Enforcement officials.
Teams have been conducting enforcement interventions in the Overberg since the beginning of October, resulting in a noticeable reduction in illegal harvesting activities and, most importantly, ensuring that natural resources remain in the ocean.
The most important part of the operation is the poachers have been kept out of the water. Although there have been a number of confirmed poaching incidents during the deployment, the presence of the teams has proven to be a deterrent. This highlights the impact of visible enforcement.
Similar successes were noted in December 2018 and January 2019 when abalone worth R1.62 million was confiscated from poachers along with vehicles and boats worth hundreds of thousands of rands. In the last three months of 2018, abalone worth more than R2 million was confiscated in the Western Cape.
While the deployment has not stopped abalone poaching entirely, it has proven the ability of these teams to react to reported incidents within the region has contributed to overall successes and visible presence of law enforcement entities.
Final details of the latest operation, including the value of abalone recovered from poachers, will only be known once the operation is concluded, vehicles and trailers have been confiscated from alleged poachers.
Local poachers are recruited and managed by organised crime syndicates and have become involved in the unprecedented looting of our marine species in the region. Enforcement operations proactively deployed in the area have not only concentrated their efforts on poaching of abalone and West Coast Rock Lobster, but have also had considerable success related to the Road Traffic Act, and other infringements in terms of the Marine Living Resource Act and criminal activity in general.
The deployment of integrated Operation Phakisa teams highlights government’s commitment to prevent the exploitation and destruction of marine resources within the coastal regions.
Source: Government of South Africa