Friday, June 13, 2008

Cape Receife Diveban

Sorry guys it seems I fired a blank on that last post!

Mark Jackson just gave me a call. Mr Dennis Tucker of the Pine Lodge Resort at Cape Receife just called him and informed him that the diveban would continue and has been approved by local council. The following email was sent by Glenton Kendrick (not another Gletwyn but this time a Glenton) to all who were present at the meeting last week:

Hi All,

I have just spoken to Dennis Tucker of Pine Lodge at Cape Recife.
He had a meeting with Godfrey Murrell of the Metro Municipality regarding our concerns about recreational divers and snorkelers having access to the sea via the proposed Cape Recife Conservancy, (presently the CR Reserve) and forwarded the proposals we came up with at our meeting at Pine Lodge last week. He reffered me to meet with Mr Murrell, with whom I had a lengthy discussion on the legalities of what the Metro are doing.

Mr Murrell has obtained his legal advise from the Chief Prosecutor, Mr Willie Pretorious, and is to enforce a ban on all scuba divers and snorkelers from passing through the gate at Cape Recife. A sign is being erected to this effect and the “boete lys” (fine structure) is being drawn up in consultation with Mr Willie Pretorious. I have seen the draft and have requested a copy of the final document.

The act of banning all diving gear is a management tool they are using to prevent poachers from using the area as a “base”. If, for example, it became necessary to stop cars, poachers, dogs whatever from damaging the Blue Hole area, they are entitled to put a sign at that place banning those activities and later remove the sign when things return to normal. They may not place a blanket ban on the whole coast as this would go against the general rights of people to carry out their recreation.

Under the “By-law for the control of the Cape Recife Nature Reserve” dated 11 April 1975, it allows for an individual to be charged with an offence if he fails to obey any lawful order, and I doubt if we have any recourse to argue the issue.

Even the poachers’ lawyers told the poachers to stay away, which they have done. The crime and poaching in the area has dropped to almost nothing since the gate control was stepped up. Cannot argue with that…

The metro are not preventing access to the sea, simply not access via their reserve…

The result is that a snorkeler or diver would have to walk around the reserve, below the high water mark to their chosen entry point.

Mr Murrel seems a reasonable person who, as a diver himself, understands our concerns.

So for now is seems we may have to go around the reserve rather than through it - pity. In due course if the poaching prblem recedes the ban may be lifted.

I will keep you posted of further developments.

I must say that at present there is not a smile on my dial! The ban will not affect my diving but it stresses me that if this occured in say 1994 I would have been heavily affected as I used to dive Cape Receife probably 30 times a year or more. Now all my visits are by boat and it still produces some splendid fish!

Interestingly when I chatted to Dennis Tucker of Pine Lodge Resorts he said that his visitors/customers would be able to cross the Pine Lodge land which borders on Receife reserve and gain access to the sea to dive. Another person would have to walk close to 600 m below the high tide mark to get to an equivalent spot. Perhaps we will be able to make an arrangement with Dennis as Pine Lodge Resort has a motto of "where people care about people".

No comments: