Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Humewood Beach - Port Elizabeth Spearfishing Threat

I am starting feel a bit like a rino stamping out flames that could burn the bushveld.
Spearfishing seems to be in the crosshair yet again.

Below is an extract from a newsletter of Ward 9, Port Elizabeth


From Councillor Annette Lovemore .....


WARD 9 NEWS - 9 March 2008

All newsletters issued by DA councillors serving wards 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9 can be accessed on www.MyPE.co.za.


In this edition :


1. Property Valuation and Rates Concerns

2. Night Speedsters, Cape Road

3. Traffic Calming in Ward 9

4. Repeated Bursts : Van Wyk Street Water Pipe

5. Spear fishing at Humewood Beach

6. Training of Residents as Peace Officers ?


Item 5 is shown below:

Start of Quotation

5. Spear fishing at Humewood Beach



On 4 February, I received the following e-mail from a concerned resident :

"We had a little unpleasantness at Humewood beach on Saturday 2 February and I feel it important that this matter be addressed.

Humewood beach is apparently a blue flag beach and as a result no surfing may take place there - even when there is no one on the beach. However, it is acceptable for people to spearfish there - even when the beach is pretty busy, not to mention plenty of people snorkeling?!!

My family were snorkeling (amongst a number of other members of the public), when my son was bumped by a man holding a loaded speargun. One can only be horrified to think what could happen if the gun discharged accidentally. The spearfisherman also speared an undersized fish. When my husband spoke to the lifeguards on duty, they asked him if he would go get the man out of the water!

When my husband brought the man and his son to shore, the lifeguards spoke to the man and advised him that he shouldn't spearfish when the beach is busy, yet once we left the beach area, the man sharpened his blade and re-entered the water without the lifeguards preventing him from going in.

Surely the lifeguards should be stopping Spear fishing on a busy beach. We believe there should be no Spear fishing allowed in/near public swimming areas and Humewood beach should have signs that no Spear fishing can take place on the old pier as it is so close to the swimmers and is often used by snorkelers."

I queried the issue with Beach Manager Fernando Cain, and received the following response :

"I'll investigate the matter further. The resident Surf Lifesaving Club was on duty. As they have new qualified members, they are not experienced with all the beach limitations. Nevertheless, we'll take it up with them and appoint one permanent lifeguard to advise them weekends.

Regarding the Spear fishing, I do agree it is dangerous. We will post additional signage advising divers. I do think it is a matter for reviewing policy, as it is threat to ocean swimmers as well."

On Monday this week, I was informed that Spear fishing had again been observed at this beach. I sent the following e-mail to Fernando Cain :

"In a previous e-mail re spear fishing at Humewood Beach, you wrote "Regarding the spear fishing, I do agree it is dangerous. We will post additional signage advising divers. I do think it is a matter for reviewing policy, as it is threat to ocean swimmers as well."

You will see, from the e-mail below, that spear fishing has again seen to be taking place at this beach. Have any appropriate measures been put in place to halt this dangerous practice ? You mentioned that the policy should be reviewed : has this in fact been done or been initiated ?"

Fernando replied as follows :

"An internal workshop has been arranged for the 11 March 08 to discuss the review of various bylaw. Spear fishing is definitely on the list!

I'll keep you informed."

I will be enlisting the help of my capable colleague, Councillor Stanford Slabbert, to ensure that this issue is properly addressed.

End of quotation

Here is my comment:

The report claims
"My family were snorkeling (amongst a number of other members of the public), when my son was bumped by a man holding a loaded speargun. One can only be horrified to think what could happen if the gun discharged accidentally. The spearfisherman also My family were snorkeling (amongst a number of other members of the public), when my son was bumped by a man holding a loaded speargun. One can only be horrified to think what could happen if the gun discharged accidentally. The spearfisherman also speared an undersized fish.
I boldfaced the parts I wish to highlight.

"Bumped" must be elaborated upon - was it intentional, what bumped the other person? Spear, head, flipper???????

"speared an undersized fish" - no doubt this person measures the fish and knew exactly what species it was. They must prove the details rather than make accusations.

Also we should ask where was the person at Humewood beach exactly when the bump occured?

Some response to the councillor has already been made by Mark Jackson and John Elliot - I will shortly add my bit.

We can sit back and let others fight it or join in on keeping the threats off as diplomatically as possible.

I spent my early days diving at the slipway(just to the right of Humewood beach if facing the ocean). There I was learning the basics and it was a great experience for me - others should also have this privelage - including my 4 year old son when he is old enough. I certainly want the divesite to be available to others.

As spearfishermen feel that we must also keep an eye on beginners to see that they are going about it in a correct and safe manner.

I will keep you posted of any progress.

2 comments:

Zane said...

People fuss about an isolated incident, where there is so much else wrong with this country - crime, taxi's and corruption. Maybe someone should have obtained the spearfishermans name and maybe he needs training.

I am not condoning or condemning anyone's actions, we all have rights. I have not dived at the slipway for many years - maybe I should do it quickly. Looks like a bit of a witch hunt against all spearos' to me.

Good thing was that no-one was hurt - we can all learn from someone else's mistakes.

Riaan van der Merwe said...

Humewood is still one of the best surf spots in the Bay on the rare occasionb that it works!!

Riaan