The City of Cape Town in South Africa broke new ground earlier this year by establishing an innovative and specialised Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit, which works with all other coastal regulatory agencies to ensure the protection of Cape Town’s coastline.
A number of the City of Cape Town’s Marine and Environmental Law Enforcement Unit officers were awarded competency certificates in a range of disciplines at a function in Ndabeni last week. This training is in line with the Unit’s commitment to capacitating its members – ensuring that they are empowered to combat illegal marine resource extraction (including poaching), and to protect Cape Town’s coastlines. This includes general by-law enforcement, enforcement of the Marine Living Resources Act in terms of their appointment as Fisheries Control Officers, and their supportive and complementary role in lifesaving and ensuring the safety of beaches and coastal areas.
Certificates for lifesaving, firearm and rifle handling, and skippers competency were awarded to officers who have undergone several months of rigorous training at Law Enforcement’s Ndabeni training facility.
To this end, the unit has been provided with eight vessels, including a 7,5 metre patrol boat and three jet-skis, to patrol the city’s coastline and engage in regular joint operations with the South African Border Police; the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and the Table Mountain National Park Marine Unit. In addition, coordination with the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department and the Law Enforcement Specialised Services Branch has further bolstered the unit’s targeted approach to addressing marine and environmental compliance issues.
“The pooling of resources and capacity in all tiers of government is consistently being highlighted as a sustainable and intelligent strategy to combat environmental crime, counter illegal fishing and to ensure effective environmental management,” said Alderman Smith, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.
“The Unit will continue to undergo additional intensive training courses in the near future to ensure that all officers, in collaboration with the partnered organisations, are fully capacitated provide a high level of service delivery,” he continued.
Members of the public are encouraged to report marine crime to the City of Cape Town on 021 596 1999.