I would like to forward the following observation. I am a resident of Humewood in Port Elizabeth and stay on the 6th floor of a beach front building. This morning (27th October 2017) I observed the following incident:
- There was a flotilla of fishing boats gathering of the pier at Hoby beach (Board walk) presumably a competition start.
- I observed, with binoculars, a very large school of dolphins making their way towards the harbour.
- They were in a long formation of maybe 500m by 25m.
- Boats were still departing from the harbour.
- There was a naval vessel moored slightly offshore from my location.
- A boat of about 21ft came from the harbour and as I watched it headed directly towards the oncoming dolphin pod. To my horror it drove directly through the pod, length ways, from one end to the other. I saw dolphins going under the hull of this boat within 10m. The boat was clearly identifiable as “Braveheart”
- A second boat followed in his wake. This boat could not be identified but was about 16ft long, white with a broad dark blue/black stripe under its rub strake. Single engine.
- A third boat joined this route and did the same. This could not be clearly identified other than it was a red/orange vessel of about 16ft.
I do hope some action can be taken against these irresponsible boat owners.
Section 3.(1) (h) of the Marine Living Resources Act (Act No, 18 of 1998) states: No person shall, except on the authority of a permit – deliberately drive through a school of dolphins.
A response from the DAG:
In response to your complaint, for years and years the Dolphin Action Group has had to deal with contraventions of the Regulations in relation to harassment of whales and dolphins.
It is a lengthy process to try and get anybody prosecuted. Names of vessels, time, place, and the person making the complaint has to fill in an affidavit with all these details. Obviously members of the public really do not want to get involved in this type of thing which usually ends up in a court case, and the person who has contravened the regulations gets off scot free.
The present situation is that I have written some months ago to Dr Boyd at Oceans Coasts and also sent copies to Herman Oosthuizen about the continuing harassment of dolphins by vessels driving through the middle of the school and following and chasing them when they are feeding or resting. Dr Boyd did reply and passed my email on but as usual no action was taken.
It is impossible to get any response from certain people at Oceans Coasts. They don’t reply to emails, telephone calls or letters, and it is not our job to be implementing the protective regulations.
As this happened in Port Elizabeth maybe Bayworld should do something about it.
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