Following our blog post last week with regards to the proposed ban on scuba diving in the Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area, we received the following email from Anchor Environmental Consultants this afternoon:
Some confusion has been created around the proposed rezoning of the Betty’s Bay MPA in as much as this affects free diving and SCUBA diving in the MPA which we would like to clarify. The following is proposed for this MPA:
- SCUBA diving in the MPA with a recreational diving permit only (This is the same for most other MPAs in the country. It will be possible to purchase a permit for this purpose from the from the Post Office as is the case for a recreational fishing licence).
- Free diving in the MPA with a recreational dive permit only (This is not applicable in other MPAs in the country and is designed specifically as an anti-poaching measure for the Betty’s Bay MPA– i.e. is designed to exclude non-bone fide recreational divers from the MPA. The aim would be to enable prospective free divers to purchase a permit from the from the Post Office as is the case for a recreational fishing licence. The feasibility of this must still be confirmed. Ideally a single licence would cover both SCUBA and free diving in the Betty’s Bay MPA).
- Diving (SCUBA and free diving) in the MPA only permitted between 08h00 and 16h00 every day (i.e. no night diving).
These measures are designed specifically to curb rampant poaching that is currently taking place in the Betty’s Bay MPA and it is hoped that they will be widely supported by stakeholders.
Vera Liebau (on behalf of Cape Nature and DEA)
Anchor Environmental Consultants
Tel: +27 21 701 3420
Fax: +27 21 701 5280
We were certainly not confused – Page 6 of the Concept Document: Re-zoning The Betty’s Bay MPA as a fully no-take MPA provided on the Betty’s Bay website, clearly states: “Due to the rampant abalone and crayfish poaching that is currently taking place, it is further recommended that a no-dive ban be imposed within MPA boundaries and this includes diving during daylight hours”.
Whilst we are happy that a no-dive ban no longer appears to be part of the proposal, we intend following this re-zoning proposal through to the end, until we are convinced that divers will be allowed to dive in the Betty’s Bay Marine protected area.
We will keep you informed.