Efforts to Protect our Oceans
Over the past few weeks, a new ship has been spotted in False Bay in Cape Town. While mysterious to some, this vessel has been built for a mission. It is a government vessel to patrol the area.
Longline and commercial fishing has become a massive problem over the past few years. The waters of Cape Town have been known for their wide variety of highly desirable fish species, not only because of their exotic nature but also high market value. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has thus imposed laws to protect the oceans from illegal activities and overfishing by requiring those wishing to fish to obtain a fishing permit. Anyone caught fishing without a permit can face prosecution under the Marine Living Resources Act No. 18 of 1988 and face up to 5 years imprisonment or up to a R 2 million fine. The seas are not easy to monitor, and the DFFE sends out vessels to monitor the waters for illegal activities and fishing. The presence of other ships, such as naturalists and environmentalists of shark cage diving companies, poses a deterrent to those wishing to exploit our already depleted marine life.
Many species we admire for their magnificence and beauty, such as sharks, are dwindling in numbers. Many sharks are either a casualty of commercial fishing techniques or target species. Organisations such as Sea Shepherd take an active stand, at times putting their lives at risk to assist in saving and preserving the oceans. Sea Shepherd works alongside many government organisations aiding in arrests and protecting sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles, and other marine life from being over and illegally fished. Other organisations, such as Shark Spotters, can serve as watchers and deterrents. While looking for sharks, they
are reminders to those wishing to participate in exploiting and harming the oceans for profit that there are eyes on them.
No matter how you feel, the ocean is an integral part of our ecosystem. Essential to our survival. In addition, our species greatly depend on many plants and animals most have never heard of. As individuals, we may never be able to work tirelessly as the volunteers for Sea Shepherd. Still, we can remain conscious of the ocean and its protection. It can be effortless, such as picking up the water bottle or the sandwich wrapper you take to the beach and throwing it in a bin when you leave. It doesn’t have to be heroic or brave to have value. We can do something small, which will make a huge difference.
If you are interested in becoming more involved in protecting our oceans, here is a list of places you can contact to get started:
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
If you share our deep appreciation for sharks, book a Cape Town shark cage diving trip with us.