Still time to contribute to your book on the estuaries

Dec 7, 2016

During the festive season last year, four Canadian graduates working with Sustainable Seas Trust approached people at slipways and elsewhere to conduct a survey on the use of estuaries for a book being prepared with Estuary Care. The initial response by most people when approached by the young ladies in blue holding clipboards was to claim that they would get their boat licenses soon. Only once they discovered that the questions being asked were to obtain their views on what should be done to collectively improve the estuaries, did they open up and answer questions. In fact, almost without exception people were enthusiastic, offered photographs, anecdotes and ideas to help make the guide book to the estuaries useful and more personal. They liked the idea of possibly having their photographs, anecdotes, and ideas in the book. It is after all, our book on our estuaries.

canadians

In their survey they found that nearly three times as many people use  Bushman’s (41%) as Kariega (15.5%) and 38% use both estuaries. Nearly twice as many people use two stroke engines as four stroke. Four stroke engines are much better for the water quality as they do not dump nearly as much oil and other pollutants in the water, so we do need to move away from two stroke.

Some of those interviewed started visiting the estuaries in the 1930s and a few were visiting for the first time in 2015. Those with decades of experience had lovely stories to tell of the old days and of how things have changed over the years, with the development of the roads, bridges and houses and the way in which both estuaries have altered their channels to the sea.  It was good news to learn that everyone interviewed cleans up after themselves and that no one throws litter overboard.  Clearly, those who litter and leave debris at places where they stop along the estuaries were not among those interviewed.

estuary

The issues that worried people most are the increase in the number of people and boats, the increase in pollution, too many houses and not as much greenery, less fresh water and more sand banks, eroding banks and too much fishing for bait. Those with good memories and some records are concerned that there are far fewer fish and on average the fish caught are much smaller than in the past.   Though most people noted the negative trends, all love the estuaries and welcomed the opportunity to help develop the book that will provide ideas on how to keep the estuaries beautiful and safe.

If you did not contribute to the survey and would like to provide your ideas and photographs, including photographs of the “good old days”, of fun on the estuaries, of animals, or plants or just great scenic or family shots, then please contact Ncumisa@sst.org.za or Tony at A.Ribbink@sst.org.za so we can help you become part your book on caring for our estuaries.

The young Canadians who started the book returned home in April, but the foundation they laid has been handed to Sustainable Seas Trust which is now working with Prof Nadine Strydom of Nelson Mandela University with a view to finishing the book by the end of 2017. This, therefore, is the last summer-time that you can contribute to shaping your book.

 

Photograph of the Canadian team which started the book: Megan, Shauna, Maddie and Samantha.

Photograph of the estuary by David Stott

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