Aliwal Shoal: A Marine Protected Area
There seems to be a misconception of late that diving in an MPA (Marine Protected Area) only means that you need to flog out R 92/45 or R 55.00 to the Post Office or your dive center in order to dive a Marine Protected Area. Well, I hate to break it to you, divers. This is not the case.
Let’s take this back to the Cowboys and Indians. The Red Indians live off the land, kill only what they need and use everything of that kill for warmth, food, sustenance & even tools & weapons. They disturb not the surrounding areas of where they sleep so as to conserve this for tomorrow. They know that the land provides for them and their kin and therefor conserve the land so that tomorrow the land will provide for their tribe some more.
Cowboys on the other hand bring their tinned beans and glass bottled beer, set up camp, make fire anywhere they please, cut down trees to make way for their tents, stomp the ground to have a flat bed and leave everything a shamble upon their departure with no regard for the turmoil they leave behind, the pollution of their trash and how it effects the land for tomorrow.
This would be much the same for divers dis-regarding the laws of the MPA’s. It states crystal clear that one is prohibited from touching, taking, teasing and harrassing any of the marine life and as such corals etc. There is specific reference made to 3 of the sites on the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area, Raggies Cave, Chunnel & Cathedral.
Call us dweebs, bunny-huggers, hippies, nature freaks or red indians if you will but the truth remains that it is up to the Dive Centre holding their Scuba Permit in which the law clearly states that one is to dive according to the Divers Code Of Conduct. Client’s are to be briefed, Dive Masters are to adhere and ensure adherence to these laws. Dive Masters not from the area have a responsibility to find out and these laws and pass them on to their accompanying divers.
MPA holders are to ensure that they know what the diver’s code of conduct is. Too many cowboys come in guns ablazing and have no conscience about leaving their spent caps behind. Leaving behind broken coral and shaken up nudibrancs from fins on the reef.
A little while ago the below was posted on facebook and rightly so:
The number of Raggies have dwindled in our parts over the last couple of years and their behaviour patterns changed sparking a drive for research. It is the behaviour of us humans, invading their territory that has some influence on their behaviours.
A cowboy would shoot anyone to enter their own home and yet, they callously do so in our oceans, invading the sanctuaries these animals have created for themselves with no means of defense other than attack in which case they are labelled monsters and calls are made for their culling.
Dear reader, fellow diver, if nothing else, take away from this blog to stay out of Cathedral, Chunnel and Raggies Cave when diving Aliwal Shoal when there are Raggies inside these designated dive sites. Please take heed of where you land when you’re buoyancy goes wonky on the reef. Let’s save our reefs for our children to see and experience?