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Abalone poacher drowns during escape bid

Publish date: 30 October 2012
Issue Number: 285
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Category: Conservation

An abalone poacher drowned when fisheries officers tried to arrest him off the coast of Hermanus on Thursday morning, the Western Cape Fisheries Department said.

According to a report on the News24 site notes that officers patrolling on jet-skis found three men diving for abalone near Breakfast Bay around 11am, spokesperson Lionel Adendorf said. One of the poachers swam for the shore while the other two made for deeper waters, about 80m from the shore. One of them got into trouble and lost consciousness. His friend tried to help him but gave up and also swam to safety. The unconscious man was pulled from the water into an NSRI rescue craft. Paramedics tried, but failed, to revive him. The other two were arrested after they were found not to have diving permits. The bags they had with them were abandoned in the water. In two other abalone busts, two people were arrested and about 8 600 abalone confiscated. Full report on the News24 site

An award-winning shark-diving and whale-watching operation, Dyer Island Cruises in Gansbaai, has become embroiled in business dealings with one of the biggest alleged abalone poaching syndicates. A Weekend Argus report notes that the owner of Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics Tours, Wilfred Chivell, who also runs the adventure centre, the Great White House, as well as a whale and shark conservation programme called the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, has been linked to three of 28 alleged abalone smugglers going on trial in the Western Cape High Court next year. The link emerged in papers placed before the court last month in an application by the Asset Forfeiture Unit against alleged members of the syndicate. According to the papers, the three alleged members linked to Chivell are part of a group of 28 accused of smuggling abalone worth more than R2bn over a 13-year period. The alleged syndicate members will appear in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, where the case is expected to be postponed to next year. Full Weekend Argus report (subscription needed)