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Permits grant fishers access

GORDON’S BAY – More than 200 complaints about people fishing out of Gordon’s Bay Harbour or loading fish into trucks from boats have been lodged with both the harbour master and Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club since the start of lockdown.

These are from residents with a view over the water, passerby or a significant number of others who cannot get a permit themselves.

Up to five complaints on average are received per day questioning the legality of the fishing.

According to an official from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff), “These are all commercial fishers, fishing with licences and special permits during this period, and inspectors from the department are always on site,” he said.

“The police have also been called out to inspect and they were satisfied with documentation provided.”

The official reminded residents that Gordon’s Bay Harbour is one of 12 proclaimed fishing harbours in the Western Cape. “This is a government facility and people must understand we don’t make the rules here. Only authorised persons are allowed in this facility.”

Eleanor Baiocchi, manager of the yacht club, said most people are just suspicious, while others want to do the same, but don’t have the required permit.

“I am the only person allowed in the yacht club at the moment. Members are not even allowed to come and check on their boats. There’s a very strict policy in place here. While we appreciate people’s genuine concern, the community also needs to trust in what is going on here.”

According to fisherman Clive Leibrandt, who owns the boat Aimee, the department has been very stern on regulations.

“At the beginning of lockdown, work was scarce because factories were closed,” he said. “But now we’ve started fishing again after obtaining the required paperwork and permits.”

Leibrandt added he was aware of the complaints related to fishermen’s operations. “Residents came here and took photos, and we see people walking outside the gate with binoculars. The harbour master has approached us about this matter,” he said.

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