Dear Minister Martinus Van Schalkwyk - Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism,
CALL FOR A BAN ON GUNS BEING TAKEN TO SEA DURING FISHING TRIPS - THE ILLEGAL SHOOTING OF SEALS
It has come to my attention, that although the Cape Fur Seals in South Africa are a protected species, that fisherman licenced by your department of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), have been engaged in illegally shooting seals for the past 34-years.
I completely concur with the media statement of your former Deputy Director of Marine and Coastal Management, Mr Kleinschmidt in 2004, when he stated "Some fishers shoot seals, injurying or killing them. We are equally opposed to such conduct. They do this believing that seals consume catches they feel are theirs. Their behaviour is uninformed and demands unequivocal condemnation. We prosecute if wild animals on land are shot at or trapped. The same holds true for seals. If anyone shoots at seals, we will prosecute. We do not condone conduct of this kind and ask people to come forward with evidence of this".
I also understand that in the new Sea l Protection Draft policy, that this is being further addressed and your department is to be congratulated on bringing in the section, Incidental capture by fisheries (18.104.22.168) - Restrictions will be implemented on the use or carrying of fire-arms, ammunition or explosives abroad fishing vessels, with a view to the control of the illegal shooting of seals at sea.
However, as per this latest incident reported in the Weekend Argus, and the numerous other media articles published, it is clear that the laws or restrictions proposed are ineffective in addressing these criminal activities, confirmed further by the non-arrest or conviction of any seal killing fiserman in over 34-years.
I therefore ask that with immediate effect a ban is placed on taking guns to sea during fishing trips.
South Africa should pride itself on being a civilized country, it is already known for it's high crime rate, and clearly guns have no place being at sea during licenced fishing trips.