Fishing Skipper Murders Fishermen whilst Murdering Seals
From: SealAlertSA Francois Hugo Seals
Date: August 18, 2006

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Sent: Friday, August 18, 2006 12:56 PM
Subject: Fishing Skipper Murders Fishermen whilst Murdering Seals,,2-7-1442_1984713,00.html
Fishing Skipper 'shoots & kills' fisherman whilst shooting at seals
     Seal Alert-SA and its seal supporters knew that it was only a matter of time before fishermen murder each other whilst murdering seals in South Africa.
     Yesterday 17th August 2006, on a 18.5 m fishing trawler from Hout Bay, fishing off Port Elizabeth - a fishing skipper, shot once and then reloaded his shot-gun and shot his fisherman in the back of the head killing him. The shot-gun is apparently unlicensed. Fishermen on-board the vessel state the skipper had been shooting at seals when the fishermen was hit by accident.
      The police have opened a murder docket.
     Seal Alert-SA as well as fishermen, the Department of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) which licenses these skippers, including Minister Martinus van Schalkwyk - has known for decades that fishermen carry guns on fishing trips with the sole purpose of murdering protected Cape fur seals at sea. Thousands of seals are shot and killed annually. It is a criminal offence, but to date no fishermen have ever been arrested, never mind prosecuted.
     In July 2005, in an attempt to have Guns Banned in Fishing, Seal Alert-SA launched an on-line petition. it has since been signed by over 9400 people in over 140 countries around the world. In addition, International Organization for the Protection of Animals (OIPA) has forwarded Seal Alert-SA a further 20 000 hand-written signatures collected in Italy, alone. Bringing the total to over 30 000 people around the world who support the ban of guns in fishing - equal or better than the number of licensed fishermen in South Africa.
     Seal Alert-SA wishes to hand these signed petitions to the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Martinus van Schalkwyk, but to date the Minister refuses to correspond.
     On the 19th July 2005, Seal Alert-SA wrote to the Minister requesting a meeting. To date there has been no reply.
     On the 15th August 2005, Seal Alert-SA made an official complaint with the Public Protector Office.
     On the 6th September 2005, Advocate Gary Pienaar (021-4238644) of the Public Protector sent the following letter "Complaint by Seal Alert-SA: Alleged failure by the Ministry to respond to correspondence : Request to ban guns in the Fishing Industry/Sector". The Minister was given 20 working days to reply.
     Seal Alert-SA was telephonically involved by Advocate Pienaar that according to MCM's legal representative Marius Diemont, the Minister does not need to reply.
    It is therefore the opinion of Seal Alert-SA that based on this official letter of the Public Protector and the deadline given last year - that the Minister Martinus van Schalkwyk should equally be brought up on charges, as had he in fact, acted in accordance with the legislation, this criminal and illegal incident would never have happened, and this fishermen would still be alive today.
    Seal Alert-SA therefore also appeals to all fishermen to now come forward and lay criminal charges against other fishermen who shoot seals illegally.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seals
Seal Alert-SA 
021-790 8774