Society today has seen the value of police reservists, sector policing, honorary marine conservation officers, NSRI and volunteers of many other organisations who serve the public and make the difference.
However, the powers that be seldom recognise these folk and their value to society.
These people are all self-motivated and come without a budget for salaries and the like.
These men and women’s services should be embraced and their full potential exploited in order to curtail criminal activities such as abalone and rhino poaching.
As these are seen as "non violent” crimes, less importance is placed on preservation and close surveillance with additional manpower, which is critically short it seems.
Because animals are the victims and not people, who can speak out?
As I have said before, we seem to have to continue re-learning our mistakes without really gaining from experience and finding proper solutions.
I have heard the saying so many times: "If they can do it so can I.”
Well, we are doomed if we all adopt that approach to life.
Our grandfathers were largely responsible for the reality imposed upon us today with permit systems for just about everything we do.
Had caution been taken then, things could have been very different now. Sadly greed has prevailed. Yes, permits have also got out of hand as these too are easy revenue.
On the angling front, summer is in full swing. Our entire coastline in our readership area has produced good catches. The "manne” who fish hard for the "toothy critters” have had lots of fun.
This period’s catch is Brett Harris’s "Ragbag” (female raggedtooth shark) of 200kg caught at the Something Good site. It’s something very good to me. A close second is Jesse Botha’s "Raggie” of 124kg caught along the Sunday’s surf.
This type of angling is not for the fainthearted.
These are epic battles that often end when you have been "spooled” (no gut left on the reel). These beasts will take you down the coast like you’re walking the dog.
The beauty of this form of angling is that all these fish are returned! I have always been an advocate for returning catches and keeping just a fry. Fish should be out of the sea and into the pan and not stock-piled in the deep freezer or sold for personal gain!
As a volunteer law enforcement official I see things from the inside out and from the outside in. Anglers often complain that law enforcement officials just "harass them” or they are never seen.
Compliance monitoring is always criticised from one extreme to the other. Usually the bad apples complain the most. One of the most common issues we encounter is that people leave their permits in their vehicles and when inspected can’t understand why they must take the "long walk” to fetch them so that they can be inspected and logged statistically.
The law requires anglers to be in possession of their permits when fishing. Because few follow this rule, fines are often issued where this could have been avoided.
I am a keen angler who also lobbies for angler’s rights but also endeavours to keep our angling slate clean too.
Exploitation is unfortunately an angling disease among some and we must encourage voluntary compliance.
There are some very destructive practices I have witnessed of late, such as the littering of our spots and removal of undersized fish.
I regularly hear the argument that fish are often not caught and therefore when they are on the bite, a few extra are justified (size does not count with these folk).
For some unfortunates it means the trip was more expensive than budgeted for, and then some are just lucky not to get stopped and the problem continues. This means we end up with less productive years ahead, as has been witnessed already.
The cob and steenbras numbers are down to critical levels.
The red steenbras is off the recreational list and the white steenbras is next with cob to follow in a few years if we don’t look out.