S.Africa arrests 4 suspected marine poachers

South African marine law enforcers have arrested four people, suspected of “poaching” lobster and abalones in the Table Mountain National Park, authorities said.

One suspect was arrested for fishing for west coast rock lobsters during the closed season in the Cape of Good Hope Section that lies in the southernmost part of the park in Cape Town, the South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement on Friday.

An unspecified number of suspects dumped the west coast rock lobsters into the ocean after being chased by rangers, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Other arrests were made in somewhere else in the park, including one at Miller’s Point on Friday for possession of 20 shucks and four whole state abalones.

SANParks is currently working together with its law enforcement partners in the national police and the Cape Town municipality to fight abalone poaching, with measures including daily sea patrols in the park’s protected marine areas.

Over the past 17 years, nearly 96 million large sea snails valued at $900 million have been illegally poached off the coast of South Africa and trafficked by organised crime groups, according to the OCCRP, a consortium of investigative centres, media and journalists.