Dead or Alive? White sharks targeted Tsitsikamma threat Illegal Fishing Deep Freedive for Sharks

Tsitsikamma Under Threat – Lobbying October 2010

Newsletter Announcement sent out:
Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area Under Threat!

(Scroll down to read comments)

On Friday 8th October AfriOceans was alerted to a rumor that a secretive process within South African National Parks (SANP) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) was underway to open sections of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) to fishing, and our assistance required. We immediately contacted Feike, the organisations that exposed the initial intention by DEAT (as it was then called) to open the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing in 2007/2008, as well as the media and other conservationists. We have since confirmed the imminent intentions to open sections of the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing, a decision that in a matter of weeks will undo the protection, which a number of species, many severely overfished outside of the MPA, have enjoyed for the past 60 years.

We are horrified that a second covert and unwise attempt is being made to once again undermine sound governance of our oceans. It is of grave concern to us that our government appears to be increasingly migrating to governance, management, and law making by deceit and deception in total disregard of basic laws such as the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. Unless this attempt is halted, AfriOceans will be calling upon the general public and other non profit organizations, both locally and internationally to not only challenge but shame both DEA and DAFF, the custodians of our marine and fisheries resources, and SANP who is tasked with managing the Park.

Shaheen Moolla, Director of Feike, Natural Resource Management Advisers, and legal advisor to AfriOceans says: “Not only will such an intention undermine decades of science and stock recovery plans for essentially 33 days of sub-optimal levels of “socio-economic” benefit, opening up the MPA will undoubtedly lead to substantial increases in illegal fishing especially since DEA (although legally responsible for MPA management) does not have the resources (financial, equipment and human) to monitor activities in MPA’s as they do not have access to fishery control officers or patrol vessels or boats as these remain under the jurisdiction of Department of Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) – as a result of a previous flawed decision that ignored all prevailing professional and academic opinion.”

“Finally, DEA does not have the legal authority to allocate fishing rights as this authority rests solely with the Minister of DAFF. Any attempt to allocate fishing rights by DEA will be unlawful and Feike will seek the assistance of supporting public interest organisations to challenge the legality of such a decision.” Read Shaheen’s blog here: http//feikemanagement.blogspot.com

When the first attempt to open the park was proposed, the marine science community of South Africa drew up a list of reasons supporting why this was a ludicrous idea. This unanimous opinion remains:

  1. South Africa is signatory to international agreements and protocols to establish and maintain marine protected areas (MPAs), inter alia the Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Resolutions of the World Parks Congress.
  2. The Tsitsikamma National Park is our oldest (proclaimed in 1964) and largest “no-take” MPA and makes a substantial contribution to marine biodiversity protection in the Agulhas Bioregion.
  3. The marine biodiversity protected within the Tsitsikamma MPA is of immense value to the nation as a whole and its protected status should not be compromised by the needs of a few.
    The precedent set by opening a national park, which is zoned as a “no-take” MPA, to harvesting, could jeopardize the status of other protected areas (both marine and terrestrial) in South Africa.
  4. According to the recent Agulhas Bioregion Systematic Conservation Plan, the marine biodiversity protected within the Tsitsikamma MPA is “irreplaceable” and if compromised by societal needs, would have to be replaced elsewhere along the coast to achieve effective marine biodiversity protection targets.
  5. There are many species of linefish (particularly resident, reef-associated species) protected within the Tsitsikamma MPA. Many of these species have been severely over-fished (i.e. to below 25% of their pristine biomass) in exploited areas outside the MPA.
  6. Most of these species are slow-growing, late-maturing and resident for at least part of their lives, making them exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation. It will thus take very little fishing effort to deplete the linefish stocks in Tsitsikamma.
  7. Research has shown that the abundance and size of many of these resident fish species, and of inter and subtidal invertebrates, is considerably greater within the MPA compared to adjacent exploited areas. Furthermore, it has been shown that these protected stocks are able to “seed” adjacent exploited areas by export of eggs and larvae and that there is also “spillover” of juveniles and adults into adjacent exploited areas.
  8. The greater size and age of fish protected within the MPA ensures that they can produce a considerably greater number of more viable offspring which are genetically “fitter” than those produced by smaller fish in exploited areas.
  9. Opening of the MPA to fishing would thus result in the rapid depletion of healthy stocks to the detriment of the local fishery and, more importantly, to the detriment of the commercial and recreational fisheries operating in areas adjacent to the MPA. The short-term benefits accrued by communities given access to fish in the MPA would therefore result in a net loss to both marine biodiversity and linefishing industry as a whole, as evidenced by recent economic surveys and analyses.
  10. As scientists we need “evidence based” arguments and we have very valuable economic and social research on the issue commissioned by WWF and carried out by Anchor Environmental Consultants (see report on WWF website). This report shows that the total economic value of the Tsitsikamma MPA (including Robberg and Goukamma MPAs) is estimated to be in the order of R 421 million per annum, of which R 33 million is from the export of fish eggs and larvae to surrounding areas.
  11. Opening of the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing, even if only in small areas along the shore for coastal communities living directly inland of the MPA, is thus contrary to all scientific advice provided by both government and independent scientists.
  12. We are certain that an alternative solution could be found to provide adjacent communities with benefits from the MPA rather than by allowing direct access by fishing. For example, the tourist trade associated with the park could support much expanded community based enterprise if the community is empowered to participate.
  13. In this regard it provides us with an invaluable benchmark against which changes in adjacent exploited areas can be measured.

COMMENTS SENT RE: TSITSIKAMMA MPA, FOR OR AGAINST OPENING TO FISHING
These comments were sent to the Ministers:

1. MPA’s should remain closed to any fishing. There are many other places which can be used for fishing and opening this area will increase illegal fishing and trawling which will distroy the fishing resources there. If this happens there will be no fish in a few years time. It is bad planning to open this area and simply short sighted. Pathetic to consider this as an option.

2. Minister, you need to remove those blinkers and think long-term. Like opening parts of False Bay to trek fishing in contravention of all scientific reasoning, opening this MPA will have an impact far outweighing the nominal short-term, politically motivated benefits. Be brave – and do what your position should entail, namely protect our resources not over-exploit them.

3. Stop destroying everything for the sake of mankind’s needs and desires! Soon there will be nothing left for our future generations, except for global warming, deserts and empty poluted oceans. It makes me sick to my stomach when I think about how us humans are destroying mother nature. Have respect for that, which was given to us to cherrish and respect, our life and that of everything around us.

4. There is no excuse for this kind of backward thinking and blatant quick buck mentality of the SNAP and DEA. Name and shame every individual in those organisations. Make sure they answer for all the ridiculous derisions are trying to sneak through.

5. Why do they want to do this? It is so illogical it smacks of dirty money

6. There is no excuse for this kind of backward thinking and blatant quick buck mentality of the SNAP and DEA. Name and shame every individual in those organisations. Make sure they answer for all the ridiculous derisions are trying to sneak through.

7. Please focus on expanding revenue from tourism in way that also benefits local communities.

8. Feel that this is the beginning of the end for the viability of MPAs which are vital for the replenishment of fish stocks and suspect that this is a move which has more to do with the “harvesting” of votes than the interests of local communities.

9. It is clear the government are not interested in future of the planet and what will be left for our children

10. If we start opening our protected areas it will be a disaster. We can say goodbye to our marine life

11. All the evidence points to the fact that the oceans, and humanity, needs more marine reserves, not less.

12. Oh please- you Must be Kidding Me , right?Open up the very Last of 2 Sanctuaries , that fish use as breeding grounds ??? What part of this do we Not understand ??? With fish stcks under such serious threat , and the permitting of angling from both Rock and surf , and from boats – how Long do you HONESLTY think Tsitsikamma MPA will last ? This is , in My opinion , Not Negotiable , and should Never come under discussion in the Next 40 years , maybe More . There are so Few breeding places left for fish TO breed – and yet this Idea of opening still gains Momentum amongst a determined Few ?????? I rest My case .

13. Please be a leader and set an example for other countries by sustaining and supporting our marine reserves. They are so important.

14. An alternative solution needs to be researched. This is unthinkable.

15. I think this is in total disregard for the future of our seas, let alone planet. What legacy will we leave our children and children1s children? – A heap of extinct species to start with …

16. It is a disgrace! Shame on you Mr Minister. Your motto seems to be “Yes, to Depletion of the Oceans, No, to Depletion of your and your clones’ pockets” Who is benefitting here?

17. Leave our marine reserves alone!

18. please preserve our natural heritage!

19. Why are you being so shortsighted? Dont you realise how this will come back to haunt us? Every act of irreverence towards our resources is going to cost you and all of us a very heavy price

20. We simply cannot allow our coastline to follow the route of the mocambiquan coastline…raped beyond repair. Its a damn shame and at this rate our grandchildren will learn about fish as we know the dinasaurs!!!Extinct!!!

21. It is the Government responsibility to protect the Tsitsikamma National Park. You cant go and hunt in the kruger national park!!! It is a park!! Same for the Tsitsikamma Park. The ocean is on the verge of depletion of fish stocks. The percentage of coast around Southern Africa is less than the international standards and still they want to open it for fishing!!! Insane!! The ANC just want more votes!!! In the constitution it states that the Government is responsible and accountable for the protection of the Sout African wildlife…

22. We have totally over fished our oceans already. Lets be an example to the world an protect what little we have left. Leadership is required. Be a leader now.

23. Save our marine life

24. In the light of overfishing and the consequent threat to our marine resources all measures possible should be put in place to INCREASE areas of conservation. The above proposal should NOT be allowed to be implemented.

25. Dear Sirs/ Madams The attempt to open the MPA to fishing can only be described as selfish and destructive. In a time where global focus is zooming into the protection of our oceans (which are severely denuded and damaged to due over fishing and pollution) it seems so foolish for South Africa to move against this obviously essential current of conservation. To open the Tsitsikamma MPA to fishing and ultimately destruction is akin to undoing 50 years of conservation efforts. The public must stand up to protect their oceans, a heritage we want our children to enjoy, and not a device to leverage populist and short term political gain (which seems to be the aim). To those in power, please do the right thing. You are our leaders and are obligated to make responsible choices that have long term benefits for all. Yours in Ocean Conservation, Christopher Mason

26. The park has always had a 3 km open zone from the start of the otter trail to the waterfall. this was only closed a few years ago. Since this closure poaching in the park has increased ten fold. Personally I believe it to be wise and in the interests of everyone to have this mere 3 km stretch reopened in a controlled fashion for recreational angling and not subsistence angling . The so- called subsistence anglers do not subsist on fish and seafood as most of them in this area are forestry workers. The EVIDENCE is there that people are poaching the more remote areas of the park to avoid the steep fines. so if there are sections or a section which can be opened for fishing in a controlled fashion that would be more acceptable than having people poaching in the more remote parts. I also believe that there are more pertinent factors threatening the livelihoods of the “endangered fish “we keep hearing about that breed in this area,for example efforts should be concentrated on the sewarage that is being released into the witteklip river at stormsriver west settlement.This river is a tributary to the stormsriver only 2 km from the sewerage spill. To this day the sewerage problem is persistent thanks to the defunct municipality, tests have proven that the water in this river is not even suitable for irrigation anymore.Maybe this is why the boardwalk to the suspension bridge was closed for so long because of all the dead fish floating in stormsriver mouth.This I see as a more pertinent threat to the sea and the life it supports. Afterall fishing has taken place here for over 100 years and still today as I write this letter you can be assured that somewhere in the park there are people fishing. Rather make the fishing controlled in a small area like it always was and avoid the poaching taking place. thank you.

27. This is beyond comprehension that the opening of the MPA’s are even being considered. Apart from our responsibility to protect the health and diversity of all living things, a very practical reason for protecting specific areas of our ocean is to create nurseries from which re-stock non-protected areas. To those decision makers, pull your head out of the sand and stick it in the water, you will need no more convincing that MPAís should be proliferated around our coastline and not constricted.

28. As an individual who works here in the Tsitsikamma Section of the GNP, and who often does long snorkelling swims, I would every reader note that the species most threatened are already barely existent along this coastline, I see small Red Roman, and Black Musselcracker but even these beautiful solitary species are not of mature breeding size. I have had the good fortune of swimming off the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, and many coasltines of the world, courtesy of 5 Years aboard theree world fleets of Cruiselines. Off the Great Barrier Reef ,where all the species of marine life are fully protected, it is one of lifes most incredible expereinces to be surrounded by large inquisitve fish, the huge Rock Cod, Morays and Grouper that are protected and in themselves become invaluable drawcards to a marine park and the Aquatic Visitors who flock to expereince these interactions with these large marine fauna. We too need to protect our large fish from human predation. Nobody seems to get it, why do we not shoot a yellow mongoose, which with its pelt could provide years of utility , yet we deem it ok, to fish out a large Red Roman and just eat it in one night, Forever losing it to our Park, all the breeding it could have done to repopulate the higher levels of the marine fauna food chain, let alone the future experiences of the paying visitors of the diving and snorkeliing concessions that have begun again here at the mouth. It is terrbile to hear that this the oldest Marine Reserve in Africa should even contemplate such a move to open it up to fishing. The Chinese have just destroyed the Mozambican Reefs, raping them with pin bobbin trawl nets, scaring up the last of the remaing sea life and crushing centuries of reef growth. That goverment has just destroyed its natural heritage for a few tar roads put in by the Chinese. It beggars belief that we as the most developed economy in Africa do not regard this coastline with respect and conservation it is due. Sincerely, Robert Branch

29. Yet 1 more reason why govt. departments should be managed and decisions made by competent (read suitably qualified) people. Please stop this “stop-gap” populist appeasement idiocy!

30. People need to get a dam clue and stop worring about lining their pockets and start preserving what we have left before it’s to late!

31. Is’nt it always about some fool sitting on a title he does’nt deserve, making decisions that will make him richer, with no thought to the consequences..? Just another day in Africa.. And sadly, that is my general oppinion of government.

32. Having worked as Marine Conservator in TMPA for 22plus years this 2nd official attempt negates everything I and my predecessors & successors have strived for. Politicians suck.

33. The oceans all over the world are totally overfished. Fish need areas to breed and build up numbers

34. Name + shame the bastards that r raping our natural resources

35. We need as much sea-space as possible to sustain the current recreational and commercial fisheries in South Africa

36. As a spearfisherman and freediver I have seen the vast benefits provided by marine protected areas. MPA’s provide a place for fish stocks to recover and give fish time to fully mature. With effective use of MPA’s we can ensure that we will be able to continue benefitting from the oceans for generations to come. Without these MPA‚Äôs the oceans will be destroyed in our lifetime and the money made from this will be gone before far sooner than that.

37. Let’s respect at least part of our marine heritage and continue protection of MPA

38. It is unacceptable to open this marine protected area for fishing! It’s no use waking up when the situation is too far gone to do anything about it. Most environmental problems are driven by greed and immediate satisfaction with no thought about long-term implications!

39. Only reserve to provide a base for stock replenshment on the Garden Route coast.

40. Since my first time in SA, I was happily surprised by how parks, reserves, etc..were taking care of and people were proud of. There are alternatives to be used than just offering direct access to fishing. I am sure there are different organizations worlwide that would like to support the local communities, like PACE org.

41. I am so tired of hearing stories like this. We all know (or should by now) that the biodiversity we rely on is under major threat! Government should be doing ALL that they can to STOP such actions and ensure a future for all. If not, the consequences will be a lot more dire then the problems they currently think they have!

42. That would be one of the silliest things we have done in a long time and very short term thinking. Please letís find other solutions to local communities’ job creation and letís not sacrifice our natural resources for the sake of a short term political issue.

43. Please consider the sanctity of these waters and preserve them for future generations to come. Our oceans need protection more than ever. If we don’t stand for at least some areas to be protected, then the health of our oceans is going to deteriorate even more rapidly.

44. Maintaining, protecting MPA’S crucial to long term recovery, sustainability of threatened fish species and stocks. Hands off!!!

45. I wonder who’s getting the kick-backs this time?

46. There are so few safe wildlife areas left for our fish to live in safety. We need to be more conscious of our impact on the oceans.

47. The idea is ridiculous and brings into question the level of short-sightedness when dealing with the management of sustainable resources at a government level.

48. NO hunting in National Parks, NO fishing in MPA’s

49. At a time when our environment is threatened at all levels, we must do everything in our power to protect and maintain our nature reserves and thereby our natural resources.

50. before answering the above question one would have to have all the facts from all parties concerned, including some historic background to the communities affected, extent of area to be opened up for fishing,conditions and/or restrictions to be imposed and how these will be implemented and sustained,proposed alternatives to providing a livelihood to the affected communities, etc.

51. All our wild areas are being plundered by greedy people, nothing is sacred any more. It’s time these short-sighted people were stopped, by any means possible.

52. We have destroyed so much on our beautiful planet. We need more reserves, not less in order to save our planet. Leave it alone.

53. Fish species need to be protected.

54. Once again an illustration of man’s ignorance and greed. This needs to END!

55. Governments have to stop thinking short term profits and think for a sustainable future, before it’ to late!

56. THERE ARE SO FEW PRISTINE AREAS LEFT IN THE WORLD. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO DESTROY EVEN MORE. THE SCIENCE SHOWS THERE IS MORE VALUE THROUGH TOURISM FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY THAN DAMAGING A VITAL MARINE RESOURCE THROUGH FISHING, SO THERE IS NO EXCUSE. WHO BENEFITS FROM THIS- NO DOUBT A SHADY FEW WHO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY ALREADY. STOP TAKING THE NATURAL HERITAGE FROM DECENT PEOPLE AND THE FUTURE GENERTIONS WHO DESERVE TO HAVE SOME UNSPOILT AREAS LEFT TO ENJOY. STOP DESTROYING WHAT YOU ARE PAID BY TAXPAYERS TO PROTECT. STOP THIS DEVIOUS AND CORRUPT PROCESS NOW. DO YOU JOB WITH INTEGRITY.

57. You cannot tell me that allowing people to fish in the reserve will have any long term benefit. More money is brought into the area from tourists enjoying the protected area. The breeding areas there are attempting to restock South Africa’s Sea. Leave the Reserve alone, there is a bigger picture than the adjacent communities.

58. Our country will grow and improve through consistent, scientific decision making, not through desperate attempts at “quick wins”. Opening the Tsitsikamma MPA is mindless and desperate.

59. I have been diving long before the MPA permit came into effect dispite the fight aginst it. The permits have now increased in price as well. Since the permits have been put in place, less management and conservation has been practiced. Years ago while heading to the Maori for a dive, we saw a fishing trawler in the lobster sanctuary. We immediately contact the authorities and were told that they have a “special” permit to do so. The next week on the same dive we had the MPA authorities approach us like pirates, demanding our MPA permits. We are on a boat. We don’t take them on the dive with us? But there has been more paoching and “special” permits issued since we have to pay to protect our MPAs. SA is a democracy. Surely intentions of this nature need to be discussed publicly. But I suppose that would uncover the bribery and corruption that is rife in our government. Transparency!!!!! Where??? But I suppose the answer from government would be Why? For What? My reply…..You don’t own the country. You run it for us. Big Difference

60. I have been diving long before the MPA permit came into effect dispite the fight aginst it. The permits have now increased in price as well. Since the permits have been put in place, less management and conservation has been practiced. Years ago while heading to the Maori for a dive, we saw a fishing trawler in the lobster sanctuary. We immediately contact the authorities and were told that they have a “special” permit to do so. The next week on the same dive we had the MPA authorities approach us like pirates, demanding our MPA permits. We are on a boat. We don’t take them on the dive with us? But there has been more paoching and “special” permits issued since we have to pay to protect our MPAs. SA is a democracy. Surely intentions of this nature need to be discussed publicly. But I suppose that would uncover the bribery and corruption that is rife in our government. Transparency!!!!! Where??? But I suppose the answer from government would be Why? For What? My reply…..You don’t own the country. You run it for us. Big Difference

61. What’s new, no wonder this govt wants to muzzle the press then we, the public wont know whats going on until it is too late and those responsible will all be millionaires a few times over. It would also be interesting to get some response from those responsible for the “protection ” of the fish stock resource at Kosi Bay as to why the “subsistance fishing” has apparently become a “huge” commercial operation due to the vitual closure of the channel into the lake system by the fish kraals

62. Unbelievable, South Africa should be working as a role model for all the other African countries – especially Tsitsikamma is an area, that’s visited by so many tourists, you better make something out of it! Don’t destroy the things you still have. What don’t you establish another Ocean-Safaris-like organisation, that would make so much more sense!

63. Protected area means just that, how can they consider fishing in an area set up to conserve endangered species which deserve and NEED our protection? Has the world gone crazy?

64. Leave it closed. The fish need all the protection they can get.

65. The very thought of this being allowed makes my blood boil!! It has to be stopped at all costs.

66. There are so few protected areas of our oceans left. We have driven so many species to extinction. Will we stop only when our oceans are a barren desert?

67. This could also be the thin edge of the wedge ñ I am sure if this goes through it will not be long before we see commercial fisherman bottom fishing on 9 mile reef at Sodwana!

68. It is appalling to even consider opening a Marine Protected Area for fishing – NO way should this be allowed

69. Allowing fishing goes against all sensible policies to sustain our oceans.

70. Its all about someone in govenment getting rich.

71. Are our coastal lines not been damaged enough as it is?

72. Please leave some of this countries’ extraordinary beauty for our children. Rather involve the communities in tourist ventures and involve them in protecting this gem.

73. The whole point of an MPA is that the marine life is protected!

74. Absolutely NO!!!

75. The time has come for people to start protecting our oceans and the sea life in it. Failing to do so will result in a ripple effect far greater than one can imagine! Listen to your scientists, they speak from knowledge and insight!

76. It is just so stupid and selfish that they are considering this. It is one of the only marine reserves left in the world. It is like eating the last seed instead of sowing it in the groud, FOOLISH, VERY FOOLISH !

77. The long term effects on our dwindling fish stocks far outweigh the short term “benefits” that the SANP and the DEA have identified. It is totally unconstitutional to make a decision of this gravity without proper consultation with all concerned parties.

78. There are too few protected areas in SA where endangered species can recover. MPA is an essential part of this strategy.

79. A definite NO!!! We need to think of the future!!!

80. Thsi is totally ridiclulous!!! These people should be shot ground up and fed to the fish that they are supposed to be protecting!!!

81. In the order of national heritage and the survival and sanity of the human race – this kind of destruction cannot be allowed.

82. Why must the current government break everything that is functioning well? Education is one such example. Save our marine heritage for future generations!

83. How dare a few people in government decide on the fate of our MPA! Keep the MPA protected – a step in saving our dwindling marine resources!

84. The Park is already threatened by Perlemoen Poachers – other areas overfished – the rationale and longterm affects need to be considered. The proposal makes a mockery of any and all environmental impact studies.

85. Do not open the MPA to fishing

86. i CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS EVEN CONTEMPLATED , HOW SAD IS THE FUTURE OF MANKIND IF IT IS RULED BY THOSE THAT HAVE NO CLUE

87. Why do they want to do this? It is so illogical it smacks of dirty money

88. There is no excuse for this kind of backward thinking and blatant quick buck mentality of the SNAP and DEA. Name and shame every individual in those organisations. Make sure they answer for all the ridiculous derisions are trying to sneak through.

89. Please focus on expanding revenue from tourism in way that also benefits local communities.

90. Feel that this is the beginning of the end for the viability of MPAs which are vital for the replenishment of fish stocks and suspect that this is a move which has more to do with the “harvesting” of votes than the interests of local communities.

91. It is clear the government are not interested in future of the planet and what will be left for our children

92. If we start opening our protected areas it will be a disaster. We can say goodbye to our marine life

93. All the evidence points to the fact that the oceans, and humanity, needs more marine reserves, not less.

94. Please be a leader and set an example for other countries by sustaining and supporting our marine reserves. They are so important.

95. An alternative solution needs to be researched. This is unthinkable.

96. I think this is in total disregard for the future of our seas, let alone planet. What legacy will we leave our children and children1s children? – A heap of extinct species to start with …

97. It is a disgrace! Shame on you Mr Minister. Your motto seems to be “Yes, to Depletion of the Oceans, No, to Depletion of your and your clones’ pockets” Who is benefitting here?

98. Leave our marine reserves alone!

99. Please! Let us learn from our previous mistakes – only after the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned and after the last fish has been caught, will man find that money cannot be eaten. Protect our planet so that man can survive. DO NOT SUCCOMB TO THE GREED OF MONEY, IT WILL DESTROY US

100. Protected marine environments are there to protect the marine life that exist inside them. There is no benefit in opening this reserve as marine life will be quickly wiped out! It is very easy to see that patterns that exist in unprotected waters. Countless species of fish that were very abundant in the 90’s are now scarce due to overfishing and lack of protection. The only way these species will recover is if these areas remain protected so that the stocks can replenish themselves. It is NOT right to do this to our marine environment! We have a say!

101. i cannot believe this insanity. there was supposed to be a move to increase the size of MPA’s, they are the one proven way to help regenrate fish stocks. this is nothing short of pure insanity and the way it has been approached (sic) is reprehensible. an audit should be undertaken to ascertain any hidden links to fishing business interests in those trying to shovel this process through. it scares me that we actually have people that blatantly stupid in positions of power. i actually feel nauseous at the mere thought of what they are proposing.

102. It takes years to establish these MPA and all science points to the fact that we do not have enough on our coastline. As a spearfisherman & a conservationist I have seen how quickly a reef can be destroyed , I beg you to leave something for the generations to come.

103. Minister; how on earth can you allow or event think about opening Tsitsikamma to commercial fishing. Why donít you rather use our famous navy to protect our coastline by the openly plundering of our sea resources by the Chinese, Japanese and Spanish trawlers? STOP for a moment and THINK of the consequences of these actions; and while you are busy please consider banning sport fishing as well in Tsitsikamma. I thank you.

104. The MPA should be viewed as a South African resource and managed openly and fairly so all South Africans can benefit from it in the long term. This means understanding its role in tourism and sustainability. Some fishing might be practical and fair, but this decision should be made in an open and transparent way, with an eye to long term benefit.

105. This is the thin edge of the wedge. Opening this critically important MPA will show that the SA government believes that fishing is more important than conservation. Once this happens, we will have a ‘free for all,take what you can while it is still there for the taking’ mentality.

106. MPA’s are extremely important to conserve the oceans and must be maintained.

107. I have been involved in a tertiary way with marine organisations for a while, and one of the subjects comes up time after time, is that there is a marked change in our reef systems. Divers are noticing alarming changes to the natural habitat of reef fish along the in-shore coastal reefs, and this is being brought about by over fishing and over-exploitation. And the sole remaining example of how a marine eco system SHOULD look, lies in the Tsikamma MPA. That is our saving grace, that someone had the foresight and sense to protect at least one area for out children and our FUTURE. And now, those who have absolutely no understanding, and no insight, and no RESPECT for our chuildren..or future..are prepared to gamble..and allow this system to be destroyed. THIS MADNESS MUST BE STOPPED.

108. We are once again not thinking further than our nose! Preserve nature NOW not in the future and make people understand not to multiply like they are! As is we are running out of resources and food therefore we need to stop making more people. Is that really so hard to understand??????

109. Stop killing everything on earth!!!

110. As a scuba diver for over 20 years – I notice the depletion of non commercial fish species, as well as every other species getting less and less in our ocean. I am very opposed to these fishing rights in a marine protected area.

111. Just look at what Bahamas has made with shark tourism! In Bahamas a live shark produces over USD$70,000.- income, a dead one USD$500.-

112. It is proven that having MPA’s means that surrounding areas that ARE fishable benefit from increased fish stocks. Think of the future people, not what you can gain right now !!

113. This is an outrage not only because of the covert way this process has been handled but also because of the risk posed to our already threatened natural resources. Thank you for bringing this matter to the public attention.

114. Please for the sake of South Africa, our heritage, our resource and our humanity, do everything within your power to prevent this total travsesty. How much more can we destroy.

115. It is abundantly clear that the limited and short term ‘benefits’ that may accrue to any local subsistence fishers as a result of opening up any areas within the Tsitsikamma MPA to shore-based fishing will be massively outweighed by the almost immediate and long term deleterious and probably catastrophic impact on fish stocks in the MPA and the surrounding waters. 60 years of marine conservation (in the first MPA in Africa)stand to be entirely negated. This has profound and terrifying implications for the future of marine conservation in South Africa.

116. another example of a corrupt government

117. Stop plundering our national resources for some short-lived, commercial economic gain of a few. The world should not be treated like a Walmart were natural assets are on sale to the cheapest bidder

118. Under no circumstances can a few people be allowed to destroy 60 years of conservation!!

119. This area needs protection NOT exploitation!

120. How can the MCM even consider opening an area so ecologically sensitive!!

121. We are one of the few areas in the world who have a major richness of wildlife. This has got to be worth more to tourism than allowing it to be fished out and we become as barren as other countries

122. This area is protected for a reason, to save the species that are there and should not be placed in danger of overfishing and extinction by lift.

123. I am AGAINST the opening of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area. Please do not let this gem be destroyed by greed.

124. This is madness. I cannot credit tht “conservtion” – the italics are MEANT – bodies do not see MPAs in the same way as they see land-based reserves. It cannot be condoned!

125. Please leave our pristine marine preserves as they are. Govt should be prohibited from expoiting our biodiversity for commercial benefit and vote seeking.

126. My children’s children must never be led to believe fish come from an aquarium

127. If you open parts up it will only lead to over fishing. leave it to the experts on these matter. Not the politions they no nothing about consivation.

128. As this is a democratic country, there should be transparency and public debate before this is allowed to happen. Govt can’t sell out nature to make money. The oceans can’t survive the level of fishing already taking place. Why else would they be desperately looking for new fishing grounds that aren’t depleted. While many countries are setting up marine protected reserves South africa wants to sell its soul. Shame on DEAT and DAFF

129. Clearly Marine Biologists, Scientists, WWF and others have conducted studies and impact assessments. Their opinions are vital for the future. Coastal communities cannot be sustainably served by opening these areas if a few months of fishing will destroy many years of conservation efforts. Certainly, however, there should be eco tourism opportunities that could drive revenue into these areas and their poorer communities. These truly fabulous opportunities need to be looked into and managed openly. Pristine coastal areas are hugely sought after by international and local tourists. They are massive assets to be showcased internationally.

130. I think this is shocking and disgusting, especially the secrecy surrounding the plan. Obviously those involved KNOW that the public would NOT support the opening of the MPA, otherwise things would NOT have been done in such a covert, underhanded way! As a biologist I know the importance of MPA’s and with SO many species of fish being over-fished and brought to the brink of population crash MPA’s are vitally important, not only to provide a breeding refuge for these species, but also to maintain a (almost) pristine habitat with a FUNCTIONING ecosystem. Considering the tiny proportion of our coastline that is protected they should be INCREASING the areas of protection, not decreasing them. This just shows a complete lack of consideration for both the environment AND future generations!

131. please can we start seeing a real commitment by our government and environmental ministries to conserving our environmental resources for the good of all. This is a horrendous idea that has failed once before and must be stopped now

132. It is shocking as to what the so called govt conservation departments try to rape all the resources

133. Absolutley ludicrous to undermine 60 years of scientific research & planning, conservation initiatives and public awareness campaigning etc.

134. Stop the over fishing we won`t have any fish left soon. Wake up!

135. there is no reason to spoil every part of our beautiful country – stop this from happening – please

136. People should open the eyes, if this carries on what will be left for the next generation. THINK BEFORE YOU ACT!!!!!!

137. What a preposterous idea. Only 1 percent of the World’s Oceans are pretected by Marine reserves.Just recently on Carte Blanche it was stated that South Africa is at the forefront of protecting its fish population with 19 Marine Reserves. What is proposed in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected area is going against all the good work that has been done. Why go backwards! Go and watch “End of the Line” again DEA!!!!!

138. WHat is happening to our world,soon there will be nothing left.

139. What for ? To gain votes ? What is thois country coming to if the leaders destroy our, as well theirs, children heritage for votes or favour ?

140. If we do not protect our environment – what will be left? what will our children have in the future? Please be wise and good stewards on this precious earth!

141. animal, fish and ll life forms within it. Stop this nonsense! NO FISHING!!

142. Stop raping our oceans !!!!

143. What short sightedness!Our actions today, determines the destiny of our children. We need to protect our species and to do that we need to protect all our natural resources.

144. With the global decline in general fish stocks how can a thought be given to opening a marine reserve for fishing….just plain common sence is required

145. Feel such shame for the human race. Why are we so greedy, why must everything be exploited???

146. I would presume that this is all about money and greed. Leave the area alone!!!!

147. Please let the Marine life have a place to retreat to.

148. The ANC are looking for votes.For the ANC nature comes second.

149. As an avid spearfisherman, when diving next to an MPA, one can clearly see the benefit these areas have in aiding the replenishing of fish stocks in the surrounding areas. THIS IS A VERY FOOLISH ACT!

150. MPA’s are critical conservation components and protection of animals therein should be paramount. As overfishing depletes fish stocks along the SA coastline the existence of “no take” MPA’s is crucial.

151. MPA – important for all concerned. Variable facts need to be presented to SA public so that informed decisions can be made.They are part of the solution

152. Future generations are depending on us to protect our natural resources. We are custodians of these gifts from the sea. Please dont rape our sea-life. Give it a chance. Leave MPA alone

153. Soon there will be nothing left… And then what? Think towards our future.

154. When is our natural world going to be seen for its intrinsic value and not just one more ever-elusive dollar? Gov’ts are simply showing their greed and lack of concern for the creatures of the planet (incl. humans). At what point is it blatantly obvious that when the oceans are dead, so are we, literally and figuratively. I’m sure their grandchildren will be so proud to know that they were part of knowingly destroying the ocean… if the ocean survives us that long.

155. The MPA provides a safe breeding area for fish. Fishermen in the areas surrounding the MPA are dependent on this breeding area. While opening the MPA to fishing will provide short-term gains to a few fisherman and fishing companies, in the long term, local fishing communities and fisher families will be devestated. Please continue to keep the MPA closed to fishing in order to ensure the long-term future of South Africa’s fisher-families. Thank you.

156. MPA’s should remain closed to any fishing. There are many other places which can be used for fishing and opening this area will increase illegal fishing and trawling which will distroy the fishing resources there. If this happens there will be no fish in a few years time. It is bad planning to open this area and simply short sighted. Pathetic to consider this as an option.