Statement regarding the transfer of marine and coastal responsibility from Ezemvelo to Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
Coastwatch KZN actively promotes best practice in Integrated Coastal Management and is deeply concerned by the stated intention of Government to transfer responsibilities for marine and coastal issues from Ezemvelo KZN-Wildlife to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries with effect from end June 2016.
Coastwatch’s particular concerns are for Monitoring and Compliance issues and in particular the roll-out of Marine Protected Areas.
We believe that the Monitoring and Compliance function exercised by Ezemvelo should be strengthened rather than transferred. Ezemvelo currently also has responsibility for monitoring vehicles on the beach. which includes all Boat Launch sites in KwaZulu-Natal. As part of their function they administer the collection and distribution of data from the Catch Registers completed by each fishing boat which launches. Coastwatch is concerned at the potential loss of the knowledge base and experience of Honorary Officers, who have been acting in a voluntary capacity for decades on behalf of Ezemvelo. Their local knowledge, passion and years of experience they bring to their voluntary positions could be wasted, unless a plan is urgently put in place to ensure a smooth transition from Ezemvelo to Fisheries.
Coastwatch would like assurances that that an approved protocol for the breaching of estuaries, which currently is administered by Ezemvelo, will be adhered to and enforced.
As part of Operation Phakisa, South Africa proposes to implement an overarching, integrated ocean governance framework aimed at balancing the economic opportunities of the ocean space while maintaining its environmental integrity. Key outcomes include an enhanced and coordinated enforcement programme, a National ocean and coastal information system and national ocean and coastal water quality monitoring programme as well as the creation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) representative network with accompanying research and monitoring programme.
To date Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife have played, and must continue to play, a crucial role in the roll-out of the MPA network as well as the development of the National Framework for Marine Spatial Planning in terms of their National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 2003 (Act 57 of 2003 conservation mandate.
The removal of the ‘marine compliance mandate’ from this long standing, scientifically rigorous, KZN based state agency will therefore be in direct conflict with the intent of the supposed ‘integrated’ ocean governance system – which includes a coordinated enforcement programme.
> Issued by Coastwatch
> For more information please contact:
> Roderick Bulman
> Coastwatch KZN 135-408 NPO
> 8 Pepworth Road, Pietermaritzburg, 3201
> T: 033 386 4465