Conservation project promises whale of a time
"A humpback whale breaches off the KwaZulu-Natal coast. The reason for this behaviour is not...
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has cancelled Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s mandate to protect the KwaZulu-Natal coastline.
Although the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) has cancelled Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s marine compliance contract, the good news is that this efficent organisation still has the mandate to manage and operate in all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
At the moment there are three MPAs in this province, the Trafalgar one, the Aliwal Shoals one and one within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
However, there are several new and extended MPAs being considered and Ezemvelo will, in accordance with its mandate, manage these, too.
For many decades Ezemvelo has been in charge of monitoring onshore and offshore fishing, ensuring compliance with marine-related laws and regulations and running marine conservation education projects. Then, much to the surprise of many environmental agencies, the well-trained officials from Ezemvelo were suddenly reined in. At the end of July this year, Daff did not renew Ezemvelo’s contract to act as the department’s agency in this regard.
In a recent Rhino Club newsletter, Ezemvelo reported that this matter was still not cut and dried.
Daff had sent a number of its staff members to KwaZulu-Natal and these officials were pretty active.
“So it’s not a case of leaving our coast completely open to illegal activities. The Daff officials are apparently taking Ezemvelo staff with them on some patrols, because most of them are from the Cape and do not know the various marine species of KwaZulu-Natal. Our sea-life is very different from that found in the colder waters of the Cape,” said an Ezemvelo spokesman.
However, the fact that decision to cancel the Ezemvelo marine compliance contract was ill-considered, was becoming more and more apparent, the spokesman was quoted as saying. Further discussions were taking place with Daff and internally at Ezemvelo.
In the meantime most Ezemvelo staff on the coast were staying where they were, but had strict instructions not to engage in any marine compliance activities.
While the matter remains unresolved, concerned citizens should report suspected marine conservation non-complaince to Lungile Nodwala at 082 8293907, Thanduxolo Ntshagashe at 079 4449951 or Dino Govender at 072 2316070.