Cob plundering suspects nabbed

20 March 2019 | Crime

Leandrea Louw

Two men arrested on Saturday for allegedly being in possession of 60 large cob made their first appearance in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Michael Bouwer and Melvin van Wyk were charged with contravening the Marine Resources Act.

They were released on N$5 000 bail each and the matter was postponed to 15 May for further investigation.

They appeared before Magistrate Rhivermo Williams. Lana Fouche van Vuuren represented Bouwer and Maggy Shiyangaya prosecuted.

The fish confiscated from one of the ski boats was donated to the Swakopmund prison and a DRC soup kitchen.

Fisheries inspectors arrested Bouwer and Van Wyk on Saturday and impounded their ski boats.

Bouwer was arrested for being in possession of a large amount of cob, which exceeded the daily bag limit, and for providing false information to a fisheries inspector. The law permits anglers to harvest only two large cob daily.

An inspector confirmed the fish was discovered in a hidden compartment.

Van Wyk, the owner of the second ski boat, ignored instructions to sail his boat to Walvis Bay. He was subsequently traced to Henties Bay, where his wife told police officers he had left for business in another town. The boat was towed from his residence to the police station and he subsequently handed himself over to the police on Monday morning.

A Fisheries Observer Agency (FAO) official said the Marine Resources Act contains a provision which allows for the forfeiture of boats used in illegal harvesting activities and that the agency intends to petition the State for this to be enforced.

He also called for an increase in the fines issued for anglers caught with excessive fish.