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Minister Edna Molewa publishes regulations on the rezoning of Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area

23 November 2015

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs has published draft regulations for the re-zonation of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, for public comments.

The Draft regulations published on the 19th November 2015 are an intention to withdraw the existing Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) declared in stipulation 2(19) of Government Gazette 21948, Notice 1429 of December 2000, and to declare under section 22A of the National Environment Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No.57 of 2003), the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park’s Marine Protected Area (MPA).  

The public has 60 days to comment on the regulations from the date of publication (19th November 2015).

The decision follows a 20-year old journey initiated by Tsitsikamma anglers who requested fishing rights in the MPA citing cultural, historical and subsistence reasons.

The Department of Environmental Affairs, SANParks, the Koukamma Municipality & other stakeholders have held various meetings with the Tsitsikamma angling forum to discuss the zonation of possible controlled areas within the MPA.

Engagement is to reassess the basis of marine resource use in the Tsitsikamma MPA Section of Garden Route National Park. This is done in order to provide benefits for society and  to ensurethat such benefits are protected for future generations. The trade-offs between the flow of benefits and the protection of the resources that provide benefits are complex and subject to continuous change as human needs evolve and as new knowledge accumulates. Government therefore has to be prepared to continuously reassess these trade-offs in consultation with its various partners.

More about the draft proposal

Q:Who are the role-players?

A: The Department is tasked to drive the process with the support of SANParks, research institutions and independent researchers to allow for transparency, Tsitsikamma Angling Forum and the Koukamma Municipality.

Q:Where are the proposed areas?

A:Only 4 areas will be opened up and the SANParksis working hard at an operational plan to better manage these areas. Times for fishing will be determined, the exact days and hours allocated for fishing.

(Proposed Zonation for the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area)

The Tsitsikamma MPA Restricted Zone (TRZ) comprises the area along the coastline starting from coastal point (A) in the east to coastal point   (B), from (B) 100 meters  directly offshore from the high water mark to point (C), from (C) west following the coastline 100m seawards of the high water mark to point (D) and then shorewards to coastal point (E). From coastal point (E) west along the high water mark to coastal point (F), 100 meters directly offshore to point (G), from (G ) west following the coastline 100m seawards of the high water mark to point (H) and then shorewards to the high water mark at coastal point (I). From coastal point (I) west along the high water mark to coastal point (J), 100 meters directly offshore to point (K), from (K) west following the coastline 100m seawards of the high water mark to point (L) and then shorewards to the high water mark at coastal point (M). From coastal point (M) west along the high water mark to coastal point (N), 100 meters directly offshore to point (O), from (O) west following the coastline 100m seawards of the high water mark to point (P) and then shorewards to the high water mark at coastal point (Q).  From coastal point (Q) west along the high water mark to point coastal (R) at Die Punt.  From coastal point (R) 3 nautical miles south to point (S). From S a straight line to point T (approximately east and approximately 3 nautical miles offshore).     From T a straight line to point U (approximately eastwards and approximately 3 miles offshore) and from U north to coastal point (A ).

Q: Where exactly are the Tsitsikamma MPA Coastal Controlled Zones (TCCZ)?

A:(1) TCCZ 1, coastal point (B) at Natspoegbaai 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark to point (C), west along the coastline from coastal point B  to coastal point (E) at Jaftas Kraal and 100 meters directly offshore to point (D).  The offshore boundary of TCCZ 1 between  points (C) and (D) follows the coastline lying 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark.

(2)TCCZ 2, coastal point (F) at Sandrif River 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark to point (G), west along the coastline from coastal point F to coastal point (I) between Steilkop and Skuinsbaai and 100 meters directly offshore to point (H). The offshore boundary of TCCZ 2 between points (G) and (H) follows the coastline lying 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark.

(3) TCCZ 3, coastal point (J) at Die Dam 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark to point (K), west along the coastline from coastal point J to coastal point (M) west of Skilderkrans and 100 meters directly offshore to point (L).  The offshore boundary of TCCZ 3 between points (K) and (L) follows the coastline lying 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark.

(4)TCCZ 4, coastal point (N) just east of Elandsbos River 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark to point (O), west along the coastline from coastal point N to coastal point (Q) at Jan Swartz and 100 meters directly offshore to point (P).  The offshore boundary of TCCZ 4 between points (O) and (P) follows the coastline lying 100 meters directly offshore from the high water mark.

Q:Will zonation of the MPA undermine conservation efforts?

A:There are stringent regulations restricting various activities (see page 9 of the proposed draft), controlled zones and activities are detailed in clause 8, page 10 of the Gazette. According to the proposed plan, only four (4) areas will be re-zoned for controlled access. A detailed monitoring plan which includes fixed underwater cameras and process will be implemented. Furthermore SANParkshas developed an operational plan which includes additional manpower for monitoring of access and regulations of permits. The Draft Regulations will also include number of days, times for fishing as well as species to catch.

There will be strict control of bag size and limits, the number of days for fishing, the times for fishing.

Registered Anglers may only fish from the shore, using a rod and reel or handline. No fishing may take place from a vessel in the Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Q: Which bag-limits will apply?

A:The following recreational bag limits shall apply when fishing in the TCCZ 1-4:

  1. A reduced recreational cumulative bag limit of 3 fish in total per person per day shall apply to those fish species which have an individual recreational bag limit of less than 10;
  2. A cumulative bag limit of 10 fish in total per person per day shall apply to fish species for which there is no individual recreational bag limit or they have an individual recreational bag limit of 10 or more;
  3. Sharks and rays (Elasmobranchs), Red Steenbras (Petrus rupestris) and White Steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus) are a prohibited species, have a bag limit of zero (0) and may not be fished for in the Marine Protected Area; and
  4. The reduced cumulative bag limits in sub-regulations (5)(a) and (b) are subject to the individual recreational bag limits and no individual fish species may be caught in excess of the individual recreational bag limits for that species.

Harvesting of bait is allowed for use at fishing sites subject to the registered Tsitsikamma angler being in possession of a valid recreational bait collecting permit issued in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act.  The daily bag limit for bait organisms shall be half the recreational bag limit and odd numbers shall be rounded up.  No person shall collect any bait organism from below the low-water mark, and bait collection shall only take place from the shore. 

Q:Who may fish should the area be open for fishing?

A:A registered Tsitsikamma Angler who resides in a community located between Covie and The Bloukrans River within 8 kilometres or less directly north of the Tsitsikamma MPA, and any community within the Koukamma Local Municipality.

Q: How do you register as a Tsitsikamma Angler?

  1. Any person who wishes to register must apply to the management authority for registration and submit proof of the following as part of the application:
    • That they live in a Tsitsikamma community
    • A copy of their SA ID
    • A copy of a valid recreation angling or bait permit issued i.t.o the Marine Living Resources Act.

Q:How and where can people obtain more information?

A: The Government Gazette No39424 (19 November 2015), is accessible through this link: » National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (57/2003): Draft Regulations for the Management of the Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area (GN 39424)

The draft regulations are in line with the intended repeal of the existing Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area declared in stipulation 2(19) of the Government Gazette 21948, Notice No. 1429 of 29 December 2000, and to declare under section 22A of the National Environmental Management:  Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003).

 

 

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