The press was informed of a small omission in a letter to local fishermen that resulted in the Betty’s Bay Marine Reserve being plundered for its lobster stocks. The area was demarcated by government as a protected area to allow depleted fish stock to recover. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) provided local fishermen from Kleinmond, Hermanus and Gansbaai with a letter granting permission to fish their quotas anywhere in a section of the southern Cape coast known as ‘Zone F.’ Unfortunately, the Betty’s Bay Marine Reserve falls within this zone and the letter failed to point out that the reserve is in fact a restricted area.
The department has been informed of the error and a second letter has been sent to local fishermen informing them of the restrictions in this area, but so far the letter has gone unheeded.
Mike Tannet, who runs the local community-based anti-poaching organisation SeaWatch, stated that the same thing happened at the start of 2012.
Fisheries spokesman, Lionel Adendorf, reiterated that the department was aware of the error, a second letter had been sent and local fishermen would be made to comply.
Once again, DAFF: a department in desperate need of some real leadership.
Clarence October, originally from Bonteheuwel in the Cape, has made the news this week as he has been awarded an honorary MBE by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. He received the award in recognition of his services to the people of Tristan da Cunha which is home to some 273 Britons. Interestingly it was Clarence and his crew that won the SAMSA Seafarer of the Year Award in 2011 for these very actions.
As captain of the fishing vessel, MV Edinburgh, October was involved in the rescue of the crew of the cargo carrier Oliva which ran aground at Nightingale in March 2011, as well as coming to the aid of hundreds of oil covered penguins who were taken to Tristan da Cunha for rehabilitation.
October remains modest in the face of the accolade, saying that he and his crew only did what any crew in that situation would have done.
Congratulations to Clarence October, another proud moment for the South African maritime industry.