Restaurant owner appears on illegal lobster charges

Hundreds of undersized rock lobster were seized from a Glencairn restaurant owner, who appeared in court on Monday June 13.

A Glencairn restaurant owner has appeared in court after the City’s law enforcement marine unit arrested her for possession of hundreds of rock lobster without an invoice, possession of undersized rock lobster, and attempted bribery.

The 49-year-old woman, had her first appearance in court on Monday June 13, said Captain Jacqui Johnson, station commander of Simon’s Town police, adding that the matter had been postponed to August 1 and the case transferred to the provincial detectives.

The marine unit, assisted by a Table Mountain National Park ranger, conducted inspections of restaurants on Saturday June 11, and at the restaurant in Glencairn, they had found 864 rock lobsters, said mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

He said the owner was arrested after she could not provide an invoice for the goods and offered the staff a R15 000 bribe.

“This arrest came about because our officers turned their attention to the end of the value chain in the illegal rock lobster trade.

“This was a significant bust and a timely reminder that poachers enjoy support even in the local market.

“That the woman had the temerity to try and bribe our staff casts further doubt on her character and also makes me wonder what else she might be involved in to go to those lengths,” said Mr Smith.

The City of Cape Town and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) at the end of last month signed an implementation protocol to enable closer cooperation in the fight against marine poaching along the city’s 300km coastline.

“Marine resource abuse is an issue that our local economy and marine environment cannot afford. It is very clear that increased partnerships between agencies from different government spheres are key in fighting against marine-related transgressions,” the City’s mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe said.