BETTY'S BAY MARINE PROTECTED AREA'S ANNUAL REPORT 2013
Posted on the 9th June 2013
The MPA’s, Islands and Estuaries annual forum was held in the quaint town of Gansbaai on 7 & 8 March 2013. The location of the forum was ideal in that one of CapeNature’s islands, Dyer Island, is just off shore. The location of the forum was the Great White House which is home to the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, a close partner to the Programme. There were a total of 39 attendees on day one who were treated to 10 presentations on subjects ranging from the proposed marine orientated course at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to the role of marine protected areas in the lives of cetaceans. The presentations were of the highest calibre and were well received by all.
Andrie van Niekerk – Betty’s Bay MPA Annual Report
Andrie provided an overview of the 2012/2013 financial year at Betty’s Bay. The draft rationale document for the resonation the Betty’s Bay MPA to a fully no-take MPA was presented at the National MPA Forum in November. The Forum’s comments have been collated and finalised and the proposal was sent to DEA: O&C for final approval. The approved proposal will then have to be presented to organised angling and local angling clubs as well as local stakeholders. The process will then be finalised and the closure of the MPA can be documented in the Government Gazette. On the compliance front, a total of 169 foot patrols, 93 vehicle patrols, 26 boat patrols and 37 combined operations were completed in this financial year. There were 15 written warnings given, 18 J534’s issued, 22 arrests and 86 divers prevented from entering the water. Biodiversity baseline data collection is done during vehicle and foot patrols and assistance is provided on a regular basis with the monitoring and handling of the African penguins as well as other sea birds. Transportation of injured, sick and oiled sea birds is also provided when needed. 11 Water quality samplings were done at three sites in the Palmiet River and Kleinmond Lagoon. African black oystercatcher nests were cordoned off at the beach as their breeding season falls within the busy summer season. These birds were monitored in July for a winter roost count as per monitoring protocol. During January and March, breeding success and breeding surveys were conducted. External research by Dane Paijmans was conducted where three oystercatchers were ringed before they fledged. Research was conducted by DEA: O&C who undertook benthic sampling within the Betty's Bay MPA and surrounding area. This work is associated with the M-Tech project of Tarron Joshua and 3rd year student Imtiyaaz Malick both from CPUT. Research was conducted by divers from DAFF to monitor the density of the abalone stock in the MPA. Steven Britz from CPUT conducted research in the Bot River Estuary. He collected invertebrates and sediment samples before and after the estuary mouth was breached. A school group from Elandsrivier Primary visited the Betty’s Bay MPA. The program was presented in conjunction with the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden and the Overstrand Municipality (Stony Point Penguin Colony). Forty eight grade 6 and 7 pupils were educated on the ecology of rocky shores. As many of these children have never been to the sea, it was a very exciting day for them even though it was very windy. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) offered the Overstrand Municipality 2 of the bursaries that they have secured for their CATHSSeta Accredited Handling and feeding seabirds training course. The Marine Ranger, Edward Richards, was offered one of the bursaries. He attended the 10 day course at SANCCOB in Milnerton and completed the rest of the hours assisting at Stony Point and while working at the Betty’s Bay MPA. Nature Conservator, Andrie van Niekerk and Edward Richards, both completed their Restricted Radio telephone Operator's Certificate in order to legally operate the VHF radio on board their vessel. Ronald Nantweni, one of the FTE’s monitoring the Betty’s Bay MPA, successfully completed a two day course in First Aid Level 1. Six EPWP FTE’s and one field ranger attended the Pre-sea course in Stilbaai in order to work safely on the patrol vessel. Andrie and Edward attended a course on enforcing the Marine Living Resources Act from 4 to 7 December 2012 in Betty’s Bay. Edward attended a “Flight for Birders” course in Hermanus from 24 to 25 January 2013. Signs will be erected in the next financial year at the four slipways closest to the MPA informing boat users of the Betty’s Bay MPA. Ten smaller signs at all the legal access paths leading to the MPA will also be erected in the next financial year informing MPA users of the regulations pertaining to the MPA.