Underwater observations on a reef off Port Shepstone
Conservation at work: Underwater observations on a reef off Port Shepstone. These underwater video frames include an enormous shoal of shad. The Natal Park Board’s biggest achievement. Ever. Their banning of shad fishing during their most vulnerable times – during spawning which invokes mass gatherings – saved the population from literal extinction.
You see, in the seventies, the shad disappeared!
But the Natal Parks Board sprang into action. As their duties called them to. And they literally saved the day for the shad. They came back. Properly!
Check the shad in this underwater video…shot a few days ago…off Port Shepstone.
I have also seen garrick like that. Yip. Wall-to-wall. Sorry to tell. In the late 80s though. But you will not see aggregations of garrick like that anymore. Not with the government’s complete loss of control over the fishing populace in Port St.Johns. Where jigging is the norm during kob and garrick runs. A run of fish btw is when they are spawning and get really hungry.
So. When change came about. The Natal Parks Board was rebranded Ezimvelo. They continued to operate just great under Nelson. The personnel at Ezimvelo actually knew us all. Personally. They knew who the good guys were. And the bad guys. And guess what. They got fired.
And a DAFF delegation took over. In an unmitigated disaster.
It is now a free-for-all on any beach and we only have this government to blame. How the hell do you build an organisation over decades – that had honed its skills so good that it kept everyone in check? Even us! And then simply fire it. Smells like something very fishy going on in this government all over again. If anybody knows the real story, please enlighten us!
We all respected those ‘green men’ back in the Ezimvelo and NPB (Natal Parks Board) days. Through and through. They were doing their job. And they were protecting the very same resource that we were busy enjoying so thoroughly. They knew what a jigging trace was. They knew the size and bag limits. They knew the species. They knew it all. Decades of hard-won knowledge and intelligence. Gone with the winds of change.
And so now we are the conservationists. Since Ezimvelo got fired – it is only now up to us! Our government is simply not interested in conservation. You should see what they are doing to Sodwana Bay. Literally destroying the place. Bananas in the wetlands.
And so we need an action plan. And have at this point managed to secure a meeting with the director of DAFF down in East London. This is the precise moment that any lawyers, lobbyists and other big-hitters should contact me. So that together a game plan can be formulated. Our immediate goal could to ban fishing in the Port St Johns estuary for the times when the fish come in to spawn. The fish are visible at this stage and it will be very easy to shut down the fishing for whilst the shoals are doing their thing and making babies.
And maybe, during these discussions, to form a kind of watchdog organisation that has some teeth. To keep this dysfunctional government in check. And to restore environmental law and order in places like Port St. Johns and Sodwana Bay.
Discussions that need to be had
Discussion on what types of fishing could be allowed. To allow subsistence fishers to continue to live.
The possible introduction of measures to increase roadblocks and patrols looking for frozen fish being taken out of the valley. These are the actual criminals. The ones who feed the fire by buying the jigged fish. Full of roe. And then hauling them to more lucrative markets in the cities.
Systems that could be put in place to encourage the public to submit photos or videos (the law at the moment protects criminals who have their mugs posted on facey or elsewhere during a criminal act or prior to conviction can you believe it!? They can use this to get off their crime with!) to a central database for use by law enforcement.
Means to educate fishers on the environmental impacts their actions could have on fish.
And the many more items on this huge agenda…
There is a heap to discuss, and many people to involve…but this is the time to sign up to the team if ever there was a moment. Just email me, Sean, on firstname.lastname@example.org in the meantime and I will form a group somewhere private where we can push this through together.
Hopefully in time for next years spawning season!
Read more about the jigging in Port St. Johns going on right HERE.