Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Current Conditions St Lucia Estuary

St Lucia Estuary
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park
South Africa

Rumor has it that the St Lucia Estuary mouth will be fully functioning by en October 2014. About time many would say.

Well never in the History of St Lucia has the Estuary health been so poorly managed as in the past 14 years. Reed beds has diminished the Mangroves swamp's capacity to nurture frail fish species and give safe haven to fiddler crabs, gobies mangrove welk and many other species.

The storm ravaging our coast line this week has brought some relief in the form of fresh sea water into the system, but with it a huge amount of sand pushing all the way past the sand pit in front of the ski boat club towards Honey Moon Bend.

Why do I, Petrus Viviers, predict the Estuary to be open by end of October 2014. Well it is really simple actually.

If the Authorities implement their Dredging Schedule of the clogged up sand pitt they will need a constant water supply. They cannot remove the sediment with out continuous water supply and even with the 36000 ha to their disposal evaporation will beat them to the chase.

The Estuary will once again run dry in the Northern Regions once they start pumping the sediment out like it did in the early 2000 when massive quantities Dusky Cob died during a water loss problem.

So the only way to get enough water and keep the system in a hydraulic lock is to use the tidal movement of the ocean to bring in enough water to remove the sediment.

In My Humble Opinion The Authorities has no other recourse than to open the mouth before the summe rain.

By Petrus Viviers
081 342 7371
petrusviv@gmail.com
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Sunday, August 17, 2014

St Lucia Land Marks Demolished one at a time

This use to be The Natal Parks Board Bait House. The current structures of managing the Recreational Angler stake in the market fails to tap into this market share of Domestic Tourism.

To understand the impact on the economy one has to understand that Ipiva Campsite has 172 Camp Sites and since 2001 ban on Recreational Beach Driving comprises a total bed lost of over a 1000 bed nights for at least a 100 days per year. This adds to 100 000 Bed nights over a year just calculated for school holidays.

The total collapse did not stop with Domestic Tourist market collapsing it also impacted on The Budget Tourist market when Zululand lost the services of three budget buss routes of which The Bazz Bus was the most we'll known of the three.

If you look at all the new Lodges that popped up like mushrooms it has no bearing on the Bed Nights that was lost. Most Lodges has between 4 and 7 Rooms. Under the Town Planning Scheme certain zoned properties could apply for Guest House Special Consent Zoning.

St Lucia now has 83 Establishments Listed that is an increase with a mere 20 new Lodges of which many is build on Residentially Zoned Property. These Luxury Lodges came with Air Conditioning that taxed the Power Grid to its Maximum.

Pelican use to have 92 Beds and was replaced with AmaZulu Lodge with only 40 Beds. Will O Rene was totally demolished sacrificing another 105 Beds.

So the bed nights lost telly keeps rising and with the influx of the Three, Four and Five Star Tourist came very little impact on the street vendor and rural art stall owners. No Foreigner can export any Bio Mass Art Back Home. No wooden Carvings, No Grass Matts, No Pottery.

This had a devastating blow on The previously Subsistence Farmers Share of the Economy. The Disposable Income of The Domestic Tourist was lost and the Foreign Tourist buys their package deals back home with inbound Tour Operators and only the minimum Cash enters the Country in exchange for the dramatic decline in Cash Flow into the area.

Who ever wrote The Lebombo Spacial Development Initiative did not have the interest of local traders at heart. They where screwed over with this vision.

By Petrus Viviers
081 342 7371
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Ohlanga - The Sacred Reed

These Reed Beds have invested our shoreline or not.

Because of the value to an ecosystem the harm is sometimes overlooked.

Let us have a look at Wikipedia:
"Treatment ponds are small versions of constructed wetlands which uses reed beds or other marshland plants to form an even smaller water treatment system. Similar to constructed wetlands, water trickling through the reed bed is cleaned by microorganisms living on the root system and in the litter. Treatment ponds are used for the water treatment of a single house or a small neighbourhood." 

So we gather from this entry in The World's most important and accredited on line encyclopaedia that what ever we through at a system the Reed beds will clean it up and filter it out.  The Question remains ... What about the importance of the Mangrove Swamps. 


Let us have a look at Wikipedia:
"However, mangrove swamps' protective value is sometimes overstated. Wave energy is typically low in areas where mangroves grow,[12] so their effect on erosion can only be measured over long periods.[10] Their capacity to limit high-energy wave erosion is limited to events such as storm surges and tsunamis.[13] Erosion often occurs on the outer sides of bends in river channels that wind through mangroves, while new stands of mangroves are appearing on the inner sides where sediment is accruing.["

Does Reed Infestation posses a threat to a Estuarine System?

How Important is an Estuary?
"
Estuaries provide habitats for a large number of organisms and support very high productivity. Estuaries provide habitats for many fish nurseries, depending upon their locations in the world, such as salmon and sea trout.[11] Also, migratory bird populations, such as the black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa islandica[12] make essential use of estuaries."  

Let us Read About Coast Care in South Africa:
Estuaries are substantial producers of organic matter, which enriches our seas by promoting growth and contributing significantly to the productivity of continental shelf waters. They are also important as nurseries for small fish and as rich feeding grounds for many types of birds. Around the edges of some of our estuaries, estuarine wetlands such as salt marshes, mangrove swamps and reed-beds are found. These wetlands are extremely productive systems, providing the basic building blocks of the aquatic food chain.

With all this short subtractions from major Work found on the Internet we can not sit back and allow the Heritage of our Children be dominated by a Status symbol like World Heritage Site.

By Petrus Viviers
081 342 7371
petrusviv@gmail.com

We want to start a petition to have a focus group where we can relay the importance of the Working Estuary and Domestic Tourism as a economic hub to a very poor community. The Influx of Tourism to the Area stretching from Richards Bay in the South to Kosi Bay in the North is a lifeline for rural communities in some of South Africa's Poorest areas.

Not Exploiting Recreational Fishing Market is forcing these areas to turn to mining since Sugar Cane has over run the ability for subsistence farming. 

To be part of the drive to start a petition please feel free to Advertise with For Africa. Most financial resources are used to drive this. Or You can make a voluntary contribution to P.J. Viviers.    


Pay

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Western Shores Ablaze

iSimangaliso Wetlands Park's Western Shores is ablaze since last night. This morning it was clear that it jumped the R618 at the entrance of St Lucia Estuary during the night.

Smoke is still seen on the Western Shores and a thin layer of black ash is blown around in the streets of St Lucia Estuary. Still have no official statement on why the fire started and how did it end up burning the Western Shores down almost all the way to Fanies Island.

By
Petrus Viviers
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Public Boat Launch

For Africa News
02 July 2014
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park

The Parking area at the Public Boat Launch has been patched up and people with certified vessels that is registered for Inland use can obtain a Launch Permit from KZN Wild Life offices in St Lucia Estuary to launch their boats onto The Estuary.

Although the Estuary is closed at the moment fishing is still extremely good and various reports of Grunter, Yellow Fin Bream and Perch are doing the rounds.

Dolphin Tackle Box, The fist tackle shop as you enter the town on the right, is a well stocked tackle shop with a large variety of bait.

Fishing in the ocean varies from day to day as the size of the Shad coming out. Some reports of Garrick over the weekend has sparked the debate whether one should use steel wire or not.

Well with the amount of bite offs and screamers one must consider a bite trace for this time of the year King Mackerel and Greater Barracuda from the beach on life bait is not in common.

Story by

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Eden Park Camp Site St Lucia

For Africa News
St Lucia Estuary
02 July 2014

It is full swing winter Holiday and the Campsite is still empty. While Garrick Shad and Grunter is on the bite this is a strange phenomenon.

To be part of the splendor book your Wetlands Camping Weekend Now.

Phone: 035 5901340

For Africa
Internet Marketing
www.forafrica.co.za
www.stlucia.org.za
www.4u2Stay.co.za

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ahmed and the Grunters

Date : 10 June 2014

For about two years now Ahmed had struggled with me on Facebook and What's App about fishing in the Estuary while it is closed.

Since 2007 St Lucia Estuary has been closed since a park decision to close the moth after a freak storm surge in the wake of Cyclone Gumede had opened it amids very dry conditions. Gumede was the Cyclone that hit Durban's Golden Mile beach front hard and almost destroyed all the amenities.

Well Ahmed tried and tried again until he bought the bait from the right people and used some local knowledge to his advantage. He took some Tiger prawns from Dolphin Tackle Box an set sails for the Great Lakes of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park with his family and friends.

Recreational fishing for them is part of family bonding and friends team building time. They travel in packs fish little and spend loads of cash as they go. Conscious to leave some for their children they swear they fish only size fish with in their bag limit when fish is available. This is not always the case.

If you look at the money invested in their equipment to suite their family outing and the money spend on a trip one realize that Recreational anglers invest money into an economy and don't harvest for finacial gain. This fishing party with their rig fish to eat, but is hardly ever this successful.

With Zululand being one of the poorest regions in South Africa job creation has turned to Sugar Can farming to feed the poor families. Tourism how ever is much more sustainable, but foreign tourist spends much less at grass root levels since they cannot purchase from the local craftsmen/woman their culture products and produce.

Where as recreational anglers moving through this region in their hordes can. They always buy some sort of matt, bowl or trincket keeping the culture alive by supporting traditional artists and craftsman ship.

In 2001 it was found that Recreational anglers spend so much money in Zululand compared to their catches they make that even after the official catch reports was adjusted twice to accommodate wrong count the avarage price per kilogram of successful catch was roughly about R66 000.00/kg.

This is way more than the cold price and way more than Sugar Cane farming can produce. In 1999 the formal trade Turn Over for St Lucia was given by the Regional Council as R75 000 000.00 per anum. That year the informal sector had a Turnover in the same region estimated at R69 000 000.00. With each artis supporting a family of between 12 and 16 people and at least 3 of them kids at Tertiary Level.

This mean the self employment rate was way better than the un employment rate. Today with the ban on Recreational vehicles on the beaches and so much wild liffe lost to Sugar Cane farming sadly the same subsistence farmers must now turn to child support grant and breed humans just to sustain their families.

If the resources of the 247 000 ha iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is better managed with more emphasis on domestic Tourism these people can be proud of their Heritage and build on their cultural traditions to feed their families. Sadly the impact of World Heritage status has changed this environment and traditional crafts are fast becoming extinct.

But back to Ahmed and his posse. Ahmed had consumed a great deal of hiss catch by the time this article was written and says that the fish caught in The Great Lake of St Lucia tatse much better thAn the fish caught in Durban harbor. This migh well be true since these fish has been caught in the heart of the food source that should populate the Tugela basin with two type of Prawn was this system functioning correctly.

Well done Ahmed hope to see you guys this weekend with Spring tide as we expect more fresh Sea water to wash into St Lucia Estuary and with this interaction brining more fish in and out of the system at the Estuary where the mouth should be.

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371

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- #For_Africa_News

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Dolphin Tackle Box - Recorded Daily Catches
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Thursday, June 05, 2014

When flash emotions spark lingering decisions.

Beach Driving vs Mining

Back in the day when it was a status symbol to get emotional about beach driving all pointers showed to a total collapse of a very fragile economy in one of South Africa's poorest human settlements.

These subsistence farmers stretching from nKodibe to Mfekayi had no say in the matter whether the Recreational use of beaches by RUV's had any impact on their life style.

Yet since the great eradication program to curb Stetsi Fly and the Ngana Disease has left a once prospering community in total tatters and 7 generations later they still battle to recuperate the sacrifices made to establish this Wilderness Area.

Now finally with a light at the end off the tunnel once again the Colonialist jump up and take from them what is rightfully theirs.

I (Petrus Viviers) say hell no!! Let these people be. Emotional Vampires has sucked generations worth of live blood from these poor and for ever suffering people.

Let them mine their property or buy it out at nett turn over value plus inflation over the expected life time of the proposed project. It is bullshit that these people loose another inch of what is rightfully theirs.

Call me names if you want to but ignorance is no excuse. The bullies opposing this mining project has no respect for the truth and the Historical Events up to date.

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371

BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Sunday, May 18, 2014

St Francis Bay the solution

#St_Lucia_Estuary
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park

Since their is working models to base the management of St Lucia Estuary on. The fact that iSimangaliso Wetlands Park Authority has declared their intention in 2005 to trademark their product and their request to transfer the property rights from South Africa Government into the name of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park Authority begs the question what is the intention of miss management of the St Lucia Estuary Mouth.

Clearly it is no brain surgery on how to manage the system, why it is made such a big deal one looks at the banning of 4x4"s from St Lucia beaches and the allowance of 4x4's vehicle on Sodwana Beaches under the same management and Integrated Management Plan compounded with the one sided implementation of Park Rule 06/2014, which over rides The Marine and Coastal Living Resources Act one wonders if it is far fetched if The once great Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park is about to loose World Heritage Status.

It seems that management is moving into a scenario where Laws/Rules only benefit the role players? 

Petrus Viviers
0835847473
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7

Why Turn St Lucia into another Marina Martinique

#St_Lucia_Estuary
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park South Africa

With all my recent writing about St Lucia Estuary I have done a lot of soul searching and reading about the importance of Estuaries as Marine Nurseries.

The more I read the scarier the scenario has become. It is clear with the manipulation of the past 15 years of St Lucia Estuary and the occasional feeding of ocean water into the system it is clear that the path of least resistance will be followed and with the driving power of money behind the science we can see that monitoring and maneging nature has become a norm in line with so called World Best Practice.

Sadly it seems that we have lost a pristine Eco system to the prestige of World Heritage Status. The thousands of hectares that could provide sustainable protein to the traditional owners are no being turned into a land locked marine system in the likes of Marina Martinique.

This transformation will have a huge impact on more than 800km of coast line exposed migrating species.

What will become of the Heritage of our children if we do not oppose this now.

Petrus Viviers
0835847473
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7

Those where the Days

When Human interference balanced with man's Foot Print created by Sugar Cane Farming.

This was the time The Marine Nursery was at it's most healthy and biggest specie diversity was found in the system.

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Fish Forced to Spawn in Lake

St Lucia Estuary
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park

In 2000 The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park entered a prolonged drought cycle and the Authorities mechanically closed the mouth to trap valuable fresh water in the system to keep salinity stable and protect the Hippo and Crocodiles against hyper saline conditions.

This lead to the drying up of the upper regions of the Lake and Thousands of Marine species perished. For years the decaying smell of marine life hung over False Bay, Fanies Island and Charters Creek.

In 2007 a storm surge created by tropical storm Gumede opened The Estuary Mouth briefly and ocean water did not significantly raise the water levels in the upper regions of the Lake. The storms surge was so high that it almost devastated Durban's Golden Mile beach front and the damages done on the South Coast has not been repaired yet.

At the end of the 175 days of healthy functioning the Authorities closed the St Lucia Estuary Mouth once again entrap breading stock inside the Estuary for another five years. This management decision lead to the total collapse of the prawn population on the Tugela shelve.

With no tidal movement in the Estuary the Mangrove Swamps has been water locked and are now infiltrated with fresh water specie vegetation like Acacia Species. Fresh water reeds and low energy flow has made this once pristine Estuary into a hunting ground for poachers fishing with gill nets harvesting the remainder of the breeding stocks from the system.

Once again the Recreational Angler Fishing for Fun and Fresh fish has to take the brunt of poor management decisions. Local Anglers are all agreeing to the fact that specie breeding habits has been altered and declining populations in the oceans of these species is trapped inside a man made fresh water pond.

This threatens a Sport with proven massive income potential World Wide and impacts on many thousands of Families which substitutes its protein source from recreational catches.

With current implementation of park rule 06/2011 that prohibits Recreational anglers only from bottom fishing one can make the deduction that manipulation of The Estuary Mouth is blatantly to invoke the demise of this World Recognized Out Door Sport and impacting on a valuable Job creation and subsistence fishing.

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tidal Channels vs World Heritage Status

St Lucia Estuary :
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park :

Richards Bay is one of South Africa's busiest harbors. Not only is it the deepest in the Southern Hemisphere it also boast the biggest bulk Exporting Terminal.

Like all other Harbors around the World this harbor was also carved into a Wetlands Basin thus destroying the Natural Habitat and Fish breeding and Nursing Grounds.

Yet Richards Bay Harbor functions better and more healthier as a Marine Nursery than World Famous ans declared Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Using Natures building blocks to scour the channel that the shipping vessels traverse through, Richards Bay relies on Dredging and Nature to help keep the harbor mouth open.

We all accept the fact that St Lucia Estuary Mouth will keep on closing. That is a given. Just like Richards Bay harbor. What we have to get our minds around is how invasive are we going to get to manage this closure and opening.

For the sake of Heritage og our Children and not the Status symbol that St Lucia Wetlands Park carry of the World we have to see this marine system functioning again and assist it through it's cycles.

The St Lucia system is 36 000 hectares and if managed properly it can be a great Tourist Attraction and supplier of protein to the families it still belongs to under Traditional treaties signed many generations ago.

Let no man dishonor the promises made by his/her ancestors. Let us set the Rich man's status aside and manage the resources to the advantage of all user groups so we all have equal shares in the spoils of this lovely and bounty full Natural Habitat

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371
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Cell: 0813427371

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Death of an Eco System

St Lucia Estuary: Looking at the tree line of Mangrove's one can see the distinctive discoloration of death. North and South of The St Lucia Bridge on The Western Shores Mangrove Forest's are dying. Yet more and more Donations are given to manage the Estuary Mouth. Why??

Mangrove Forest has many function. One of these functions is sediment traps during tidal movement. When high tide pushes into the aerial routes the sediment is carried with the tide. As the tide turns it settles just before it starts draining back to the ocean.

Amongst the Mangrove swamps during neap tide, the small Frey of fish will seek refuge against predictors. Also amongst the swamp roots is the ever present fiddler crabs and Mangrove Welk's.

All this can only survive with tidal movement through an open Estuary mouth. Lost of these established Mangrove Swamps will be devastating since they are over run with Marsh Hibiscus. Once March Hibiscus has established they are backed with Acia Thorn Trees.

Another habitat lost for ever.

Petrus Viviers
0835847473
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7

The drainage of iMfolozi Flood Plains

IMfolozi water and sediments:

Agricultural development in the IMfolozi floodplain involved canalisation of the river and the removal of the wetland vegetation that slowed flood waters and filtered out sediment. Canalisation delays the overflow onto the floodplain from the main river channel, which means that more sediments are delivered to the mouth without the
trapping effects of the floodplain (figure 18).
www.isimangaliso.com

Petrus Viviers
0835847473
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7

Specie Collapse on Thukela Shelve


Loss of estuarine function: - The prolonged closures of the St Lucia estuary mouth have had a negative impact on the estuarine functioning of the estuary system. There has been a noticeable reduction in marine migrant fish species, such as the Natal stumpnose Rhabdosargus sarba, and the shallow water prawn fishery on the Thukela Banks has collapsed as St Lucia has ceased to function as a nursery for the shallow water prawn and other species (figure 22). www.isimangaliso.com

Petrus Viviers
0835847473
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7

The Scouring Effect

Richards Bay Harbor:
The Scouring effect:

When one have to keep a harbor mouth constantly open it is always good to see and learn from Nature. Nature uses a scouring effect to keep Estuaries, River Mouth's and Tidal Pools open.

With Poor Farming Practices and this includes Rural and un Developed land owned by the Government contributes to the clogging up of these Marine Nurseries and Natural Protected areas.

In Nature Tidal movement over Spring Tides Especially over the Equinox twice a year and storm surges over the stormy seasons to perform the scouring actions.

Scouring is the hydraulic effect water has on the sediment built up in the ocean and along rocky shores, estuary mouths and river mouths. Scouring is the digging out and washing away of sediment leaving a deep pool behind.

Souring is needed in Rock Pools and Reefs to keep it clear of sediment built up and clogging up of these natural hide aways for small rock fishes and crestatian life forms.

With this established it seems that only nature that can pay for it self has a right to existence. Such as Sugar Cane Farming and Man Made Harbors. As soon as we start Game Farming or Fishing we are hindered by the emotional out cry of uneducated people.

Richards Bay harbor uses scouring effect to its advantage through various drainage and tidal channels. To keep the harbor operational they also use hard mouth development as swell as dredging.

Scouring is by far the most natuaral way to manage sediment build up in any waer body or natural estuary or river mouth.

Petrus
Pin:2B84CDD7
petrusviv.bbm@gmail.com
0813427371
BBM Pin:2B84CDD7
Cell: 0813427371