Tsitsikamma MPA Under Threat!
What a week! It started in fact on Friday last week when I got a call alerting me to the secretive process within South African National Parks (SANP) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to open sections of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) to fishing, and continued apace with National Marine Week and the Anti-Dolphin Slaughter Protest held in Cape Town.
Once again, just as with the recent shark fishing competition threat in Durban, which AfriOceans helped to stop, I had to put everything down and focus my efforts on the threat to the MPA. In summary, the Deputy Environmental Affairs Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, has given instructions to start a process aimed at re-opening the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area for fishing. This has been confirmed by SA National Parks, which manages the MPA despite a carefully worded denial by Mabudafhasi’s department. While I consulted with the AfriOceans lawyers and Board, and various other concerned individuals, and NPOs, and notified our data base, Verona Smith and Terry Corr, the AfriOceans Environmental Educators, in partnership with the City of Cape Town, were reaching 300 learners for National Marine Week.
As if that was not enough, AfriOceans also participated in the anti-dolphin slaughter protest, with Terry and Verona leading 400 strong protesters with our “STOP THE SLAUGHTER!” protest boards, and coaxing everyone to shout at passersby, whether on foot or in motor cars: “SAVE THE DOLPHINS, STOP THE SLAUGHTER!” Go to Terry’s blog to find out more. Today Terry sounds like a Leopard Frog – he can hardly speak! I regret not being there myself what with the MPA issue consuming me, but I am proud of my team for representing us so well. We were all literally fighting for our oceans.
As for the MPA issue, well, rumor has it there is loads of denial and lies going on, but in the meanwhile we believe it is necessary to keep the pressure up. From our newsletter announcement so far we have received over 100 votes on whether the MPA should be opened or not, as well as comments, and thank everyone who signed. These signatures and comments have already been sent to the Ministers. If you are not on the AfriOceans Mailing list, please join so we can alert you to such issues when they arise. Your support is vital and your voice needs to be heard. Please go to AfriOceans website to find out more about the MPA threat and to send us your comments. Once again it is important that we rally together to help stop the inevitable destruction of a small Eden called the Tsitsikamma MPA. Is it not ironical that our government should be attempting this during their legislated National Marine Week, a time the country should be furthering its conservation of our oceans, not destroying them?