Use of drones for recreational fishing still illegal – Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has strongly criticized fishermen who use electronic devices for illegal fishing in South African dams and rivers. Last year in February, the Department was made aware of recreational anglers using devices such as drones and remote-controlled boats to unlawfully catch fish and sharks in the country’s water bodies. Sport fishing events: yes play app download

The Department has previously stated that the use of these devices is strictly prohibited and has warned recreational anglers and the public about the enforcement actions that will be taken against those found using them.

In March 2022, Gannet Works Proprietary Limited, a company selling fishing drones, and other members of the angling community filed a legal application against the deputy director-general of fisheries management and the minister responsible for forestry, fisheries, and the environment.

The application requested the court to declare that using bait-carrying drones, bait-carrying remote-controlled boats, and other remotely-operated devices is not prohibited under the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (MLRA) and its implementing regulations.

On April 12, 2022, the court denied the request. A subsequent application for leave to appeal was also denied on October 26, 2022.

However, on May 2, 2023, the Supreme Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal, but the appeal has not yet been heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Following the granting of permission to appeal, incorrect information began circulating on various social media platforms, particularly targeting recreational anglers. This misinformation claimed that the appeal rendered the February 24, 2022 notification null and void, implying that fishing with drones was now legal. Anglers were encouraged to continue using their drones for fishing. However, this interpretation is incorrect.

To address this misinformation, the Department sought the opinion of a senior counsel who stated clearly that the permission to appeal does not invalidate the February 24, 2022 notification. The notification provided a summary and explanation of the legal provisions in the MLRA regarding recreational fishing.

Therefore, despite the permission to appeal, drone fishing remains illegal.

In essence, the court’s judgment and order on April 12, 2022 did not overturn the existing legal framework or find the statutory requirements for lawful recreational fishing unconstitutional. The statutory obligations imposed on recreational anglers since 2005 and the definition of “angling” remain fully enforced and part of the legal framework.

Consequently, the suspension of the High Court’s order to dismiss the case does not suspend the operation, execution, and enforcement of the law under the MLRA and its regulations concerning recreational anglers, which have been in effect since 2005. It also does not affect the definition of “angling.”

The Department has affirmed that it will continue to enforce the law as announced on February 24, 2022, unless the Supreme Court of Appeal issues a contrary order.

Fighting for their lives on the open sea: Fisherman survive ‘frantic, raging’ boat fire

A group of 26 fishermen were saved from their boat, the Olivia Marie, which caught fire while out at sea over the weekend. The Olivia Marie had left Hout Bay on April 5, according to its AIS data. The crew alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), stating that they had to abandon ship due to an engine room fire that had engulfed the entire vessel. Despite challenging conditions with strong winds and rough seas, the crew managed to board a small life raft.
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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Simon’s Town was activated at 1:40 am, and the MRCC and Telkom Maritime Radio Services coordinated the rescue effort. The cargo vessel AquaExplorer and fishing vessel Umfondini changed their course to assist in the rescue. The 26 fishermen from the Olivia Marie were successfully rescued onto the Umfondini. In addition, the NSRI Hout Bay dispatched two rescue craft, Nadine Gordimer and Albie Matthews, while the NSRI Simon’s Town sent the rescue vessel Donna Nicholas. The Transnet National Ports Authority, Telkom Maritime Radio Services, NSRI Simon’s Town duty controllers, NSRI Hout Bay duty controllers, and the NSRI’s EOC all provided support to the MRCC in coordinating the rescue operation.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) described the rescue effort as “a frantic effort” involving three ships that responded to the mayday call. Despite prevailing winds of 15 knots from the southwest and water swells reaching up to 2.6 meters (approximately 8.5 feet), all crew members were safely transferred to the Umfondini. The AquaExplorer then resumed its normal voyage, according to SAMSA.

All the fishermen were safely transported to land without any injuries. The NSRI used sea currents to gently tow the Olivia Marie away from the shore until the tug-boat Strandloper arrived, preventing a potential environmental disaster. The Olivia Marie, the casualty vessel, was subsequently towed and secured at a berth on the sea side of Hout Bay Harbour pier.

Amazon fishing trip turns into fight for survival as woman is stuck on boat with dead husband’s corpse

Maria das Graças Mota Bernardo and her husband, José Nilson de Souza Bernardo, set out on a sailing trip in the Amazon jungle, hoping for a relaxing adventure. However, their journey took an unfortunate turn on the first day.

De Souza Bernardo fell seriously ill and tragically suffered a fatal heart attack in the middle of the night while aboard their boat. This sudden event left Mota Bernardo alone and unsure of what to do.

Without any experience in fishing trips, Mota Bernardo decided to tie their canoe to a tree and use their other boat to seek help. Unfortunately, she encountered yet another setback when the engine of the boat failed shortly after her departure.

Determined to survive, Mota Bernardo resorted to paddling by herself, spending her days tirelessly navigating the waters. She also tried attracting attention by banging on pots and pans and screaming for help, but her efforts went unanswered.

According to her daughter Cristiane, at one point, a passing boat ignored Mota Bernardo’s desperate pleas for assistance. With no one coming to her aid, Mota Bernardo had to rely on meager resources for sustenance, eating raw fish and flour while drinking water.

As the days passed, the situation became even more distressing. Mota Bernardo had to move to the other side of the boat to avoid the overwhelming stench of her husband’s decomposing body.

Finally, after several days of being stranded, Mota Bernardo was rescued by a Brazilian navy helicopter. It was their concerned family who had alerted the authorities about their missing parents.

This incident serves as a reminder of the extraordinary perseverance and will to survive that can be found within us. Similar tales of survival in the Amazon, such as Antonio Sena’s 38-day ordeal after a plane crash in 2021, highlight the challenging conditions and remarkable strength that individuals can exhibit in such circumstances.

Germiston family in counselling after 16-year-old son drowns during Vleesbaai fishing trip

A tragic incident occurred during a father and son fishing trip in Fransmanshoek, Vleesbaai, along the Garden Route. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) reported that the father, aged 47, and his 16-year-old son were swept into the sea from the shoreline. The incident took place on Tuesday and the family was due to return to Germiston on Wednesday.

The NSRI Mossel Bay duty crew was alerted at 10:08 am on April 11th. They received reports of a drowning incident at Fransmanshoek, Vleesbaai. A search was launched immediately, and it was discovered that the father had come out of the water along the shoreline. The NSRI and police provided assistance to the father while the search for the teenager continued.

Tragically, the teenager was found in the water in a gulley close to the shore. Despite efforts to rescue him, he was declared deceased by paramedics. The South African Police Service (SAPS), Police Sea Borderline Control, and Western Cape EMS also responded to the scene. Police have opened an inquest docket to investigate the incident.

The NSRI expressed their condolences to the grieving family. The family, including the mother and the deceased’s two brothers, are receiving counseling from professional therapists. The NSRI and the community offer their sympathies to the family during this difficult time.