Posted on the 18th May 2018

BirdLife Overberg’s CleanMarine conservation campaign is explained in this summary first published in the BirdLife South Africa E-newsletter. This is a call to members, partners and other like-minded people to support these conservation efforts by donating funds to sustain the project over the next few years. Any other suggestions on sustainable fundraising efforts will be appreciated. Details of progress reports, budgets and challenges are available. Contact Anton at birding@overberg, to pledge your support.

Members of BirdLife Overberg decided to prioritise the club’s future fund-raising and conservation efforts. A workshop was presented during September 2017 in collaboration with the Nature’s Valley Trust. Many of the region’s role-players showcased their projects, and Dr Mark Brown conducted a brainstorming session.

Some participants in the BirdLife Overberg workshop in September 2017 representing BirdLife South Africa, BirdLife Overberg, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Nature's Valley Trust














It was decided to focus our conservation efforts on the Overstrand region’s coastline and estuaries through a campaign called the CleanMarine project. It consists of six distinct projects, done as case-studies and reported to the Western Cape Birding Forum with a view of other clubs possibly implementing similar actions.

The first project seeks to support the breeding success of African Black Oystercatchers and White-fronted Plovers along the Cape Whale Coast. Key breeding sites were identified during the previous summer. Educational campaigns will be launched at these sites and others to be identified during the next summer. These campaigns will largely be based on posters, brochures and media releases developed by the Nature’s Valley Trust. “Oystercatcher champions” will be identified from club members and volunteers to monitor progress at specific spots to protect the nest sites and the chick rearing efforts of the adults. A zoning system for dogs on beaches is being negotiated with the Overstrand municipality, but will only be implemented during the summer of 2019 and 2020.

African Black Oystercatcher adult foraging for mussels to feed a sub-adult chick
White-fronted Plover









The second project is aimed at more regular coordinated waterbird counts, known as CWACs, along the Klein, Uilenkraal and Botriver estuaries and the Vermont salt pan. Discussions are currently being undertaken with members of several organisations to participate in the counts. These counts will be done in support of the work of Dr Giselle Murison of BirdLife South Africa and Pierre de Villiers of CapeNature, aimed at the development of sustainable management guidelines for these estuaries.

Three projects form the basis of what has been dubbed the “CleanMarine war on coastal pollution”. Fishing line bins are being put up at key sites along the coastline. Important partners in this effort include the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), the Coastal Clean-up Conservation Trust, the Overstrand municipality and CapeNature. The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) division of BirdLife South Africa and Plastics SA are thanked for their financial support in this regard. A separate campaign to address the problem of cigarette butt pollution is also being negotiated with regional agencies.

Fishing line bins being put up along our coastline












All of this in aid of a cleaner coastline









Seven monthly coastal clean-ups, managed by Elaine Odendal and Helé Oosthuizen, have already been undertaken. The contents of the litter are scored and the results forwarded to Plastics SA and the Oceans Conservancy. The bags collected are deposited at the local recycle plant. A monthly “Oystercatcher Hero Award” honours individuals or agencies that contribute to our war against marine pollution. Previous recipients include the Recycle Swop Shop and the Onrus Litter Ladies. Young children from the Recycle Swop Shop participate in these clean-ups regularly, giving the project a distinct educational slant.

BirdLife Overberg members on a coastal clean-up
Children from the Hermanus Recycle Swop Shop regularly participate in the monthly CleanMarine coastal clean-ups









Several educational campaigns are being undertaken with BirdLife South Africa’s bird of the year resources on the African Black Oystercatcher forming the central theme of our efforts during 2018. The resources, together with the club’s identification brochures on common coastal birds, are being disseminated to most schools in the region. This is done with our partners at Whale Coast Conservation and DICT.

Fundraising efforts to support and sustain these projects are ongoing and any ideas and suggestions in this regard will be appreciated.

Regular progress reports can be viewed at Like the project’s Facebook page at to receive ongoing feedback on developments.


Coastal birds identification brochures now available at R 2 per copy for bulk dissemination to schools
Marine litter collected on a CleanMarine coastal clean-up to be taken to the Walker Bay Recycling plant










(Images by Carin Malan, Jenny Parsons and Anton Odendal of BirdLife Overberg).


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