Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group, instructed by the Wildlands Conservation Trust, assisted the Friends of Tsitsikamma, in launching an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court to interdict SANParks, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and the Tsitsikamma Community from implementing a decision to permit recreational angling in the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (TMPA) pending the outcome of a review application which also formed the second part of the application proceedings.
The Tsitsikamma National Park is the oldest and one of the largest marine protected areas in Southern Africa, having first been declared a protected area in 1964. The TMPA alone conserves 11% of South Africa’s Temperate South Coast rocky shoreline and provides a laboratory for fisheries baseline research on endangered line fish species and natural ecosystem functioning. For at least the past 15 years, legislation and policy have prohibited fishing within the TMPA which is currently an area of “no take” based on sound scientific reasoning.
Partner in Bowman Gilfillan Africa Group’s Litigation Dispute Resolution Department, Trudie Nichols explains, “On 19 November 2015, the Minister published draft notices and regulations in the Government Gazette calling for public comment on the feasibility of opening up four areas within the TMPA to shore fishing, by 1 February 2016.
“Notwithstanding that the public comment process was underway, on or about the 30 November 2015, SANParks and the Minister, announced that a pilot project for recreational angling would be permitted from 15 December 2015 for the benefit of the