Nearly 300kg of fish and squid have been seized and nearly R20,000 worth of fines have been issued in a series of raids by fisheries inspectors and ports police in Nelson Mandela Bay this month.
Department of environment, forestry and fisheries spokesperson Albi Modise confirmed on Thursday inspectors from his department and ports of entry police based at Ngqura had worked together on the operations which targeted several shops across the Bay.
In the most recent raids, on Wednesday, the joint task force swooped on two shops in Durban Road, Korsten.
The first was Tobacco Zone Cash and Carry where they discovered large quantities of fish for which the owner, Kammal Uddin, could not produce the necessary paperwork, and which included non-commercial species, Modise said.
“While they were busy there a bakkie arrived to deliver more fish.
“The driver could not explain the fish in his possession and, when we visited his shop, Bushra Trading, owned by Ali Akbar, also in Durban Road, another large volume of fish was discovered.
“In total in these two raids they confiscated 146 spotted grunters, 42 cob, 23 mullets, 15 blacktail, one white steenbras and two mud gurnard.”
In both cases the fish were packed in freezers together with other products.
The shop owners said they bought them from members of the public — apparently anglers who caught them in nearby estuaries like Swartkops and Sundays, or ski-boaters, who caught them in the bay.
In both cases the shop owners had initially argued that the fish were for their own consumption