Dear Cape Fur Seal Supporters,

South African Government Approved 'Army' of Seal Shooting Fishermen

Date: May 27, 2008

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Seals shot illegally by thousands of government approved fishermen carrying guns

 
       The stark reality of gross mismanagement by South African government officials tasked with protecting our marine environment and the sadistic killing of protected seals daily by an 'army' of government permitted fishermen who are all permitted to carry guns at sea to shoot seals - is revealed in just two letter (see below).
 
      The Seal Protection Act written in 1973, clearly states, "make regulations prohibiting or taking on board, without lawful reason, on any fishing boat, of any fire-arm or any instrument or substance (explosives) with which seals may be killed, disturbed or frightened away".
 
      35 years later, thousands of seals criminally murdered by government approved fishermen, and still the Minister refuses to introduce a regulation to ban guns in fishing.
 
      There is only one reason 30 000 fishermen take guns to sea - and that is to shoot and kill protected seals.
 
      So whether the Government is banning seals from 99% of their former seal islands, causing the new-born baby seals to drown, or it turns a blind eye to 30 000 fishermen shooting and killing seals daily, or licenses seal clubbers to club to death 85 000 pups, or commercially shots 9000 bulls for their penis, or just for trophy hunting and sport, or calls thousands of seals drowned in any one of 65 000 commercial trawl fishing nets deployed opposite seal breeding colonies, as incidental seal drowning - the end result, is that government is NOT protecting our seals.
 
      Please write to the South African Minister of Environment, Martinus Van Schalkwyk, (Marika Willemse <</span>Mwillemse@deat.gov.za>) or his special advisor Dr Shaun Vorster (<</span>svorster@deat.gov.za>)or Dr Monde Mayekiso, Deputy Director of Marine and Coastal Management (Pumeza Jantjies <</span>Pjantjies@deat.gov.za>) or Director General of DEAT, Pam Yako (pyako@deat.gov.za).
 
      Please voice your concern that this has been allowed to continue for 35 years where thousands of seals have been murdered, and call for an immediate Ban on Guns in Fishing, and please sign the petition,  www.petitiononline.com/Rrancois/petition.html !
 
(See letters below)
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
----- Original Message -----
From: Seal Alert-SA
To: Shaun Vorster ; Marika Willemse ; Pumeza Jantjies
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 12:23 PM
Subject: MCM Permitted Fishermen Murder Seals Off Hout Bay Fw: Fishermans behaviour

Dear Dr Mayekiso and Dr Vorster,
 
    Please could you advise what your department is doing about the contents of the letter below. The contents of which will be forwarded to my worldwide group of seal supporters. This is a daily occurrence off Hout Bay, I have a 30 000-strong petition signed in over 80 countries around the world to ban guns in fishing in South Africa. The Seal Protection Act has empowered the Minister to act and ban guns in fishing since 1973. 35 years of seal abuse is no excuse ! Perpetrated by thousands of permitted fishermen daily.
 
   The Department should be ashamed of its conduct in this regard, allowing such criminal activity. 
 
    It is further noted, that following our meeting on the 12 May 2008, in which considerable effort went into my 122 slide show presentation - that no response or decision has been forthcoming from the department in this regard. Ignoring this species decline is unacceptable.
  
    Has MCM prosecuted any fishermen EVER for illegally shooting or smashing in the heads of protected seals?????
 
    Please could you state your position in writing, urgently.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Fish
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Subject: Fishermans behaviour

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. I had the opportunity to “ride along” with a commercial fishing boat from Hout Bay on the weekend to the snoek run off Olifantsbos which is towards Cape Point. The weather was perfect, despite the thick fog which made running out rather nerve wrecking for a person not knowing any better. The entire experience was generally a pleasant one, although the blood and butchering of the snoek species was borderline barbaric. It seemed unbelievable that the sea could sustain this heavy assault on the species.
 
The crux of this letter is as follows:
 
On our way out to the fishing area, one could almost follow the fleet from the constant trail of rubbish discarded by the craft ahead of us. We must have passed approximately 100 plastic cans of oil, lots soft plastic cooldrink bottles, empty cigarette boxes, discarded bait boxes and a general trail of rubbish. This saddened me as it must be easy to keep this in one place on the boat to be thrown away on shore.
 
One boat hooked a Mako shark. Once it was on the side of the boat, the fisherman clubbed it twice on its head so it was stunned, then lifted its tail out of the water, took a knife and cut the end of its tail off so that it could no longer swim and discarded tail and the semi-conscious shark into the water.
 
One boat hooked a seal in the mouth. The fisherman pulled its head out of the water, leaned out of the boat and proceeded to hit it on the head approximately 100 times until the seals head split open, blood splattering everywhere and then was cut free to sink into a pool of blood.
 
Whilst I was out there for a few hours, 8 seals were shot in the head by skippers of boats. The seals were coming close to the boat and the skippers would shot them to prevent them from stealing the snoek off the lines.
 
This sort of behavior is absolutely barbaric and unforgivable. I urge the powers that be to investigate these claims and act upon them. We constantly criticize foreign fisherman for their behavior towards whales, sharks etc, but our very own locals are behaving in just as atrocious manner. I was warned not to say anything to the skippers or fishermen for fear of my own safety.
 
The issue of discharging the weapons in public is clearly illegal. The SAPS should be investigating this.
 
The issue of animal cruelty in beating seal heads into a pulp is surely also illegal. What sort of person has it in their heart to perform such acts? How did that person become so barbaric and manage to carry such anger?
 
The issue of the shark is just as barbaric and devastating.
 
I remain under my pen-name of Bill for fear of my own safety and the safety of my family, but will keep on raising these issues until something is actively done about them.
 
Please could your organization act on this and see what / where you can be of assistance.

 
Thankyou for sending me the letter, I also received it from other
sources.Well done to Billfish for at least trying to do something.
As those of us who are on the sea on a daily basis are aware this is an
everyday occurence.I have seen fishermen bait seals and then when the seal
lifts it's head out of the water to take the fish they blow it's brains
out.When I have confronted them I have had knives pulled on me as have
others.It is also a common occurence for "tailing" to take place with
sharks.This is when they catch a shark cut the tail and then allow it to
bleed to death so that it does not bother them again.Virtually everyday this
last week more than 2 tonnes of 30-50year old soupfin sharks were being
landed at Millars point.
Shark longlining is now legally taking place in False bay, the list just
goes on and MCM does F... all other than liberally handing out permits
whilst scientists and others warn against it.
To weeks back I was involved in another battle when a well known sport
fishing boat clubbed several great shearwaters to death to retrieve hooks,
R1.50 hooks on a R2 million boat!!!
On many occasions I have seen these wealthy fishermen club blue sharks
etc.Some of these same fishermen are the ones who harass us at Seal Island
encroaching on natural predations etc.
In 1994 I was involved when Theo Ferreira had the balls to lay a charge
against the seal shooters and they got a R200-00 fine and basically told us
to f. off. Bottom line MCM through sheer and utter incompetance is to
blame.Instead of sending boats to check me for my commercial shark diving
licence where I have been operating within the law and educating foreigners
about the beauty of sharks in a non consumptive way for over 12 years they
should be enforcing the law with those who rape and pollute the sea.
I will forward this to as many people in the know that I can, bottom line
though is talk is cheap and we all need to get out there and make these
people realise what they are doing is wrong and get MCM to be accountable
for what is happening.
I will raise this issue with MCM and as many foreign groups as I can.If we
can't stop it we will at least get as many poeple aware of it as we can so
the publics " sorry for the poor fishermean attitude " can change to a  "
reap what you sow attitude".

Chris