Fight against illegal fishing at Von Bach

Katharina Moser
Efforts to combat the huge problem of illegal fishing operations at the Von Bach dam are already beginning to show results, largely due to cooperation between the local plot owners and four rangers from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism.
So say residents who went to look at the situation.
Unauthorized fishermen reportedly throw nets into the narrower parts of the dam, causing animals to become entangled in the nets and die.
According to plot owner Derek van der Merwe, poachers tie empty water bottles around their bodies and then swim from one bank to the other with nets.
Often there are people on the surrounding hills warning the fishermen when rangers and residents approach.
The environment ministry appointed four rangers to patrol the area every day, to remove nets, free the live fish, and then burn the nets.
“We work well with the rangers and they do their work very conscientiously,” Van der Merwe said, who works closely with the rangers.
However, the rangers lack the equipment to combat illegal activities. They don't have a vehicle and not enough fuel for the boat they may use. That is why residents sometimes help out with carpooling and fuel.
“Months ago, many nets were found every week,” Van der Merwe said. “Now it is decreasing. I think we’re slowly but surely winning the battle.”
Residents like Van der Merwe are mainly concerned with the survival of the fish and to curb illegal activities at the popular resort.
However, additional staff, vehicles and fuel will be needed to step up their efforts.