Hi Mike & Barbara,
Many thanks for your concern & this Mabibi Alert !! We all have to accept that it has long been part of the local community custom to “scavenge” the Tongaland inter-tidal zone for anything edible BUT where is the line drawn as to exact location or quantity – are these harvesting excursions monitored, how frequent are they (e.g. every low Spring tide ??) and what is the impact on the bio-diversity of this delicate eco-system – which you recognise in your letter below …..
“We observed the locals doing their ‘subsistence farming’. I recognize that this is part of their tribal custom, however, the uncaring and greedy behavior was mindboggling. I am enclosing a few photos for your information. NO LESS THAN 30 BAGS OF RED BAIT ETC WAS TAKEN FROM THE ROCKS. We were horrified – where is the control? This is a World Heritage Site, a magnificent heritage site which should be cared for by us for the generations to come.”
“We watched the unfolding scene with horror and then the gentleman who walked up to me said he and his wife has witnessed the exact same behavior the day before – they had also raided the rocks and taken approx.. 30 bags the day before as well. This is unacceptable. I would appreciate your comments on this. I believe iSimangaliso are doing a splendid job all round – however, in this instance something needs to happen.”
A parallel could be made with the age-old fish kraals in Kosi Bay & the need for control measures, particularly against the illegal netting, or else everything will be plundered !! There are conservation staff to monitor & control these activities, both the acceptable & illegal, why not Mabibi ??
My concern is that Mabibi is an excellent, unique marine life field study area, which besides being a wonderful attraction to the paying iSimangaliso snorkeling visitors, should receive special protection and certainly the “Rape of the Rocks” should be under conservation supervision and most probably stricter control & protection at this location.
If the turtle hatchlings along these beaches are protected against community harvesting, why not the rock life at least at this small important location ??
Hopefully there will be a positive response forthcoming, as Mabibi, in particular, is one of the coastal jewels of the priceless Heritage that is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park ??
Again many thanks, it is critical that every voice is heard as the natural world gets ravaged at every opportunity, shrinking by the day.
Yours in conservation,