Sharks, sardines and things …

2016-06-16 06:00

I RECENTLY had the pleasure of having three live radio interviews that involved interesting aspects such as sharks, marine protected areas, sardines and the South Coast.

The gist of my discussions involved the importance of having a healthy population of sea life, hence a healthier planet and subsequently a healthy tourism economy. My approximation is that activities out at sea could contribute some 20% to 30% of our tourism revenue yields and as such that cannot be scoffed at.

A local shark diving practitioner for example have indicated to me that some 80% of their clients (and they have many) are from overseas and this is a very important high per capita spend client for the South Coast.

So the combination of marine protected areas, well applied coastal management plans and excellent land-based coastal amenities and services should collectively establish firstly visitor appeal and secondly a suitable balance between users and environmental considerations.

We know that currently there is optimism that the sardines will run again this year and with them come thousands of all sorts of sea predators which provides us with one of the world’s most amazing natural spectacles.

There is no doubt that our marine equivalent of the Serengeti migrations is a tourism draw card and for this reason we have built a number of events around Sardine Season all in the interests of affording our mid-year visitors much value adding during their stay.

Besides a few nippy days sent to us from the South this time of year remains mild to warm so I would recommend that all our locals, who have family and friends living in our inland provinces, encourage them to some here for their “winter” break and savour the season ahead.

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