The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, on Thursday, announced that the three Chinese fishing vessels captured on South African waters have been released.
The department of Environmental Affairs (DAFF) and the SA Navy identified the vessels along the South African coastline during a patrol in May. They were later roped to an east London court after they tried to escape.
Chinese Fishing Vessels Caught On SA Shores
The department disclosed that the vessels’ masters were caught without requisite permits after they finished fishing and made their way to the shores.
The three vessels – the Fu Yuan Yu, the Fu Yang Yu and the Run Da had 340, 60, 200 tons of squid each, together with 36, 34, and 26 crew members respectively.
Reports had it that the masters of all three vessels appeared in the district magistrate Robyn Tyler’s Appeal Court in East London two weeks ago.
They were released after paying a R1.3 million fine after were found to have breached the Marine Living Resources Act and South African Maritime Safety Authority legislation covering threats of environmental pollution and degradation.
However, they were not dispossessed of their fish because they were not caught in Mzansi land.
Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said the capture of the Chinese vesselsdepicts the country’s seriousness to protect its territorial and exclusive economic zone.
“We cannot tolerate the plundering of our marine resources, which are a source of food security and play a huge role in realising our goals in Operation Phakisa. We are also looking into the sudden influx of these vessels in our waters,” Zokwana said.
Earlier in June, a suspicious vessel was led to Cape Town harbour after it was spotted by authorities.