Few more weeks to object to MPA

2016-03-17 06:00

STARTING from 3 February, interested groups had 90 days to lodge objections, proposals for changes or alterations to the proposed marine protected area (MPA).

In 2014 Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife proposed that the Protea Banks, off Shelly Beach, become an MPA in order to protect marine life.

At a recent meeting held at the Shelly Beach Skiboat Club, Dick Pratt - who chaired the meeting - explained that many had queried why the MPA extends far out to sea, way past the continental shelf as boats launching from the club do not frequent this area.

It is believed the reason behind this is to prevent drilling, mining and fracking.

Chris Korsten, head of the Shelly Beach Charter Association said he was concerned about the effect on tourism.

“Tourists who come down from inland two or three times a year do not all have or can’t read a GPS.

“They won’t be clear on the zone boundaries and would rather go somewhere else where there are no restrictions,” he said.

Korsten asked how the area was going to be policed, particularly when crossing from one zone to another with both bottom and game fishing tackle on board and what guarantee is there that once these regulations become law the government will not change them at some time in the future.

He said no spotter planes are allowed so what would happen during the sardine run when Sharks Board planes act as spotters for seine netters and issue media statements which attract tourists.

Korsten asked if those in attendance could email their objections to him and he, and other experts, will put something together and send though a formal objection.

Justin Mackrory, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism said the University of KZN are doing a study on the impact of this MPA.

“If it can be shown that representatives of government departments were invited to public meetings, but did not attend, then the legality of the meeting can be challenged,” he said.

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