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South Africa's illegal pearl fishermen train to become divers

The community in Hangberg (near Cape Town) has lived from poaching for years. Thanks to the knowledge passed down from generation to generation and their modest equipment, they know the treacherous waters around Hout Bay like the back of their hand. Now they have the chance to use their skills to finally earn money legally.
Published: December 3, 2017 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:03
South Africa’s illegal pearl fishermen train to become divers

The community in Hangberg (near Cape Town) has lived from poaching for years. Thanks to the knowledge passed down from generation to generation and their modest equipment, they know the treacherous waters around Hout Bay like the back of their hand. Now they have the chance to use their skills to finally earn money legally.

Local company GMC Guerrini Marine Construction and local diving school Jack’s Dive Chest have offered seven men a free diving course to enable them to provide their services commercially and abandon dangerous ‘bottom poaching’. Their first order of business is to help excavate the wrecks cluttering the harbour at Hout Bay. As the marina is located a short distance from the troubled waters surrounding the Cape of Good Hope, there is a veritable graveyard of vessels of all sizes on the seabed.

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The project is more than just training for seven people – it is also a job prospect for more people in Hangberg and the surrounding area. As well as fishing for wrecks, the new divers will also be recovering metal and timber from the “treasures” they pull out, to be reused for the community and local businesses.

The project participants are excited about the opportunities open to them. They admit that illegal fishing has been profitable, but they also agree that they are willing to sacrifice uncertain profits for safety and steady, legal work. Once qualified, they will be able to work commercially down to a depth of 30 metres, and with further courses, they could try their hand in the offshore industry in the future.

After years of economic stalemate among residents in the Hout Bay area, exciting opportunities are emerging. And we look forward to hearing news of the shipwrecks.

Source: news24.com, Photo: Aletta Harrison, News24


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Gosia Harasimowicz
Żeglarka, Freelance Copywriter w włąsnej działalności Copywriter.
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