“IF you’re going through hell, keep going!” Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) said.
I guess what Sir Winston meant was persevere regardless and never give up as it can only get better. I guess conservation has much the same route to follow. There are those determined to succeed in its destruction while you have those who crusade to preserve beyond the grave!
I have studied the policy for food security and the empowerment of subsistence communities. Simply empowering people to attack our natural resources will inevitably lead to its demise and total destruction.
This has already been witnessed at the Swartkops Estuary the past decade. The impact appears to be slow but the result has a landslide effect.
Speak to those who have dwelt there, over the years and the facts are alarming.
The Friday forking for bait leaves the banks looking like a potato field that has just been planted leaving nothing to survive!
The Swartkops small-scale fishery is unique in that they were given the privilege to harvest bait by fork on Fridays in order to supply tape worm, to the angling fraternity, that can only be harvested that way. It fetches a good price compared to the other bait species harvested and this leads to many problems.
Unscrupulous anglers incentivise the harvesters so that they can acquire stock that is transported to other estuaries and thereby exploit those estuaries fish populations beyond comprehension. In previous years it was illegal to transport bait away from an area where the bait was originally harvested.
The use of forks was also only intended to be a short term project to monitor the impact that forks would have on the system.
It has clearly shown that the number of forks being used should be reduced with immediate effect and possibly phased out completely. This was part of the original management plan for this project that has now just been left in limbo!
Poverty alleviation is a true need in society today but it is the most misguided of concepts.
It is intricately complex which requires much thought and commitment to guide it to succeed in a sustainable way by the custodians of the project.
It is easy to launch but almost impossible to foster.
The Norwegian government ploughed R2.4-million into this subsistence programme in 2005 and today there is very little to show for this investment if anything! No provision was made for maintenance and the long-term supervision and survival of this initiative.
The acceptance of responsibility will remain an albatross for the administrators. Human nature to benefit from easy pickings will always be an issue and nevertheless exploited.
This is why we have strict laws in our country today that merely restrict the law-abiding.
That “speed hump” concept I have mentioned in the past. Getting folk to buy into an idea and remain voluntarily compliant is impossible without education.
Even with education, there will always be opportunists that capitalise on opportunities they cannot resist.