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Public Participation Process Prior To Formal Participation Process

Meeting held in Crassula Hall on 27 March 2014 in respect of the proposed closing of the current MPA to all forms of fishing and the requirement for recreational divers to acquire permits to enter the sea in the area during day time between certain hours.

Attendance records reveal that 105 persons attended the meeting and the following stats have been extracted from information provided by attendees:

Non Residents of Bettys Bay  -  13

Bettys Bay Angling Club    -    5

Bettys Bay Boat Club    -    4

Fishermen      -    9

Bettys Bay Residents    -  28

This is by no means an exhaustive list as not all attendees revealed their interest or affiliation.

The meeting was chaired by Dr. Barry Clark of Anchor Environmental Consultants who outlined proposals in closing the MPA entirely. He then asked for objections, comments and input from the floor. These are summarized as follows:

1. The area can not and has not been effectively policed and there apparently is no plan in this regard.

2. There is a lack of inspectors to police the area.

3. Property prices will be adversely affected by the ban.

4. Residents/Visitors come to the area for recreational purposes.

5. Rather move the area to a 4KM strip towards Rooi-Els which is sparsely populated.

6. Move the MPA to a less populated area.

7. Access to fishing outside the MPA is difficult or impossible for less able bodied residents.

8. The MPA is not a good site for fish breeding due to strong currents.

9. The catch of Galjoen has increased since 2006 and the Angling Club has records to substantiate this.

10. The proposal is based on outdated research.

11. This is the first step in expanding the MPA area.

12. Have other solutions been looked at such as bag limits, size limits and closed seasons.

13. What about using a rotational fishing plan.

14. Children will not even be able to catch Klip Fish.

15. Other factors impact on the lack of fish stocks such as pollution, sea temperatures, strong currents, breeding areas and climate change.

16. Allow recreational diving until 18H00 to allow for those working during the day.

Dr. Clarke responded to a number of the comments and said that all of these would be passed on to the Minister together with their recommendations.

The public were given until 25 April 2014 to submit comment to Anchor Consultants in respect of this pre formal process.

A notice would then be published in the Government Gazette by the Minister from which date the public would have 60 days in which to object or pass comment on the proposals.

Four attendees stood up and expressed their support of the closure and in fact one suggested that the area be extended.