terça-feira, 26 de abril de 2011

ZWF ALERT - Kosi Bay over-fishing resources alarm!!

    The Kosi Bay Estuary depicting the numerous fish kraals (Photo- Paul Dutton)
ZWF-NETWORK COMMENT :: This is yet another example of the excessive onslaught on the natural resources of Zululand by mainly eco-ignorant Tribal Communities – this time the fragile Kosi Bay Estuary is under severe pressure from what has developed from traditional subsistence fish kraal capture into an illegal commercial fishery, even with the support and blessing of the KZN MEC who last year applauded the awarding of a SA Government Woman of the Year Prize to someone who is technically a poacher !! Refer both stories story below --

Fish kraals win prize for mother

Witness 31 Aug 2010 -- Thobani Ngqulunga

THE Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department held a national Female Entrepreneur of the Year Competition at Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal scooped the award of the best Subsistence Producer in the Fisheries category. The national event was preceded by provincial competitions and saw women from all nine provinces battling it out for the first prize in all categories.

Female entrepreneur Dolie Patricia Mthembu was honoured as the best Subsistence Producer in the Fisheries category. She walked away with a certificate, an award and R120 000 prize money on top of the R50 000 that she received during the provincial leg of the competition. Mthembu (41) is a single mother of five from KwaNgwanase on the border of South Africa and Mozambique. She makes a living selling the fish she catches to hawkers, retailers and the local community. According to a statement, she practices a rare but environmentally friendly fishing method that uses kraal traps built on the beach ( TC NB - this is incorrect - the kraals are in the Estuary), locally known as izimvambi, to capture fish.

An elated Mthembu plans to use her prize money to develop her business, building more fish traps and paying for her children’s education. The Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development congratulated Mthembu on her win. The department’s MEC Lydia Johnson said the department will work very closely with Mthembu and assist her in her future endeavours.

ZWF Comment on above article -- . An investigation by the ZWF revealed that the lady in question is not even a "trapper" as stated, as they are mainly all men, but simply someone who buys fish from trappers and resells them at a profit.

The traps can in no way be described as "environmentally friendly" as they are now using nylon ropes & netting and gum poles to increase efficiency, and their catches appear to be well above sustainable limits. The fishing method is not legal as the kraal fishermen have steadfastly refused to "accept" the Marine Living Resources Act and the authorities cannot manage them as they are completely illegal.

The kraals are all inside Kosi Mouth as it would, fortunately, be impossible for them to be built in the open ocean.

Fishing in the Kosi Bay lakes system at present seems completely oversubscribed with serious concern about falling stocks and overfishing. Illegal netting is also a very serious concern as well as the export of fish by vehicle from the region to attain better prices in places as far afield as Durban.

Conservationists are stunned that people like her suddenly get massive prizes for basically breaking the law! This is of course all part of the ANC Government’s “people-before-environment” (instead of with) misguided ideology which threatens all Zululand’s wildlife reserves, battling for survival of being plundered by an unsustainable population growth – the Ndumo Game Reserve illegally removed Mbangweni fence (still missing after three years) & increased rhino & general & dog poaching, give testament to this massive challenge.

The number of fish traps have increased dramatically from historical subsistence fishing levels to today’s illegal commercial fishery. An added problem is that they are now using nylon rope and netting but cannot be prosecuted because the traps are illegal.

It is the same situation as with fishing where the size and bag limits only apply to people with licenses. The law states that no one with a fishing license may keep above the bag limit or under the size limit so if you have no license they can only be prosecuted for fishing without a license. Last November the authorities finally convicted a woman netter who was caught with 1 600 metres of nets and over 200 fish BUT all that she could be charged for was fishing without a license.

On the other hand if tourist anglers, with a recreational license exceeded the bag limit by ten fish, they would be liable for a heavy fine !!.

No wonder there are alarm bells ringing but most likely on deaf inept Politicians ears !!

Tim Condon

Kosi fishing resources alarm

Zululand Observer STORY: 09/04/11 by Megan Erasmus

The number of fish being removed from the Kosi Bay lakes is beginning to reach dangerous levels and conservationists fear little is being done to prevent this. One recent visitor to Kosi wrote a disturbing letter, detailing how he and his friends witnessed the plunder of this most beautiful natural resource. ‘We were anchored within 10 metres of a kraal on a lake, and noticed that the kraal was constructed of materials such as bamboo and polyester twine, instead of the traditional sticks, poles, brush and plaited bark ropes.’ From this kraal, the party allege to have witnessed the removal of over 70 large fish, most of which were classified as Red Status by the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI). These fish were then taken back to shore, where the catchers reportedly sold them to waiting buyers.

Oceanographic Research Institution (ORI) senior scientist and spokesperson, Bruce Mann, confirms that both ORI and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have for many years tried to monitor the recreational fishing industry in the bay through the use of the catch card system. ‘However, it has become clear over the past few years that the stocks of some fish species have substantially declined, and the recreational fishing industry is not at fault. ‘There has been a rapid increase in the number of fish kraals, as well as the increased effectiveness given that more modern materials are being used. ‘This is actively depleting the supply of fish in the lakes. ‘Furthermore, the situation seems to have changed from that of being a subsistence or artisanal effort to a commercial effort.’

Open access

Andrew Zaloumis, CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, commented that both iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo are continually working towards the reduction of unauthorised fishing, but because Kosi Bay is an open access system, it is difficult to manage. ‘We are partnered in our work against such illegal and unauthorised activities, and the changes to the materials being used in the construction of these kraals is of concern and is being investigated. ‘Neither Ezemvelo nor the iSimangaliso Authority are soft on transgressors and both organisations will take whatever legal steps are necessary’, says Zaloumis, ‘but there will always be those who push the boundaries of what is acceptable.’

Fish kraals have been used in Kosi for over 700 years by traditional communities, and these catches have been permitted to be sold, but this is all within reasonable limits. ‘What was witnessed here however, is clearly beyond such limits’, says Zaloumis. Both iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo appeal to the public to report incidents such as these to the Ezemvelo Conservation Manager based at Kosi on 079 9156699 as soon as they are witnessed so that suitable action can be taken. Ends



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