Fisheries Compliance Officers are now armed and ready to deal with the poachers along the Overberg coast.
A number of officials recently received firearms for the first time to assist them in the fight against perlemoen poaching.
The officials who received firearms already have gun licences while several others will have to undergo training and competency tests.
Before this, only a small number of FCOs, who owned private firearms, were armed during patrols.
Unarmed officials often had to deal with heavily armed poachers.
One official who asked to remain anonymous says the official weapons will make a big difference.
“We can now go into dangerous situations knowing we can defend ourselves, where we couldn’t before,” he states.
In May, an official in Gansbaai was stabbed in the face while arresting a suspect and in June another was assaulted in Kleinmond when trying to apprehend suspects. Both were unarmed.
But Palesa Mokomele, spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, wouldn’t confirm that officials are finally armed.
“The Department is unfortunately not at liberty to divulge such information,” says Mokomele.
However, in June, after a DAFF official was attacked, Mokomele told the Daily Voice that they were waiting on DAFF management to “solve the challenges to proceed with the issuing of firearms” in an attempt to prevent similar attacks on officials.