Beachgoers rescue fish as Margate gets back to fun and sun

2012-12-19 00:00

DESPITE recent problems with striking lifeguards and E.coli in lagoons on the South Coast, the beaches have come to life again.

With great weather and good quality water, beachgoers are visiting in huge numbers, say authorities.

Yesterday there was some extra fun for holidaymakers on Margate beach as they helped trapped fingerlings back into the water.

Margate beach supervisor Gareth Tennant said the fish clearing exercise was done in a great community spirit.

“Everybody got stuck in. The two pools that these estuarine fish came from were going to pose a problem because they were landlocked and three weeks old, so we used a seine net to catch them and put them back in the river.

“Members of the public helped catch them, and it became a community exercise,” said Tennant.

He said the fish became landlocked when the river was redirected about a month ago and two ponds formed, which were shrinking. Had the fish not been rescued the ponds would have become stagnant and a public health hazard and the fish would have died.

Hibiscus Coast municipal manger Anton Botha said the municipality had hired earth-moving equipment to restore Margate main beach to its former glory.

When it came to water quality and the presence of E.coli in the Ramsgate and Margate lagoons, which are fed by streams that are often polluted, Botha said the most recent tests, taken by B.N. Kirk Laboratory on Monday this week, showed the water was safe to swim in.

“Water tests will be taken again on a fortnightly basis, but so far everything looks good and swimming in the sea on recognised bathing beaches is safe,” said Botha.

Meanwhile, Tower 13 owner and lifeguard service provider for all beaches, Leon Garbade, confirmed yesterday that the weather was brilliant and that although the sea was slightly murky, it was clearing and the South Coast was “living up to the reputation that makes people from Gauteng flock here for their holidays”.

“Since last Monday numbers on the beaches have doubled and so far we are on par with last year and beaches are filling to capacity,” he said.

Garbade said the beaches were fully manned beyond seasonal strength of 48 lifeguards year-round. Additional lifeguards had been hired, bringing the total to 80.

He complimented Hibiscus Coast Municipality for cleaning the last of the debris that had resulted from the recent heavy rains.

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