Letter by mister Francois Hugo
Thursday, August 11, 2005
To the Minister via email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMPAIGN TO BAN GUNS AT SEA DURING FISHING - SOUTH AFRICA
PROTECTED CAPE FUR SEAL RECENTLY SHOT THROUGH THE FACE BY LICENCED MCM FISHERMEN
Dated : 11th August 2005.
Dear Minister Van Schalkwyk/Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism,
I refer to the Seal Alert-SA campaign to have guns banned from sea during commercial fishing trips in South Africa.
I can only assume that the reason for you or your office's failure to respond to any of the emails, faxes or letters addressed to you, in concern thereof, that you perhaps view this campaign as one, which comes from a small minority of irrational "bunny huggers".
As the Minister, you are in charge of the Environment/Fishing and Tourism portfolios. In the Fishing Industry, if my figures are fairly correct, there are some 30 000 active fishermen and 3000 fishing skippers.
This translates into approximately 0.01% of the population.
Income from fishing contributes about 0.5% to GDP.
Tourism, and particular the sustainable growth of wildlife eco-tourism, I believe contributes about 11% to GDP and over 6 million tourists visit our shores.
Laws have been in place, making the shooting of a seal a criminal offence since 1973, not only under the Animal Protection Act, but equally under the specific act of the Seabirds and Seals Protection Act.
Clearly therefore as no licenced commercial fisherman has ever been arrested for shooting a seal in the past 34-years or ever, and the widespread shooting of seals illegally has been acknowledge throughout the industry, from MCM scientists, researchers, fishermen and the public.
That the only explanation for this failure by your department to up-hold the law. Is that an unlawful policy has developed with favours and turns a "blind-eye" to the 30 000 strong fishermen, who are shooting seals regularly.
Perhaps it is even an un-official "cull" to reduce seal numbers in the mistaken belief collapsed fish stocks will increase.
Regardless of which, I would therefore like to inform you, of the following:
* The people supporting this Ban on Guns during Fishing, are not whacky "Bunny Huggers", we are all normal members of society who are seeking a civilized society.
* If numbers are your management style, over 250 people from 22 countries, in the last 24-hours logged into the Campaign Guest Book and aired their comments and support.
* I trust that you do not propose or expect me to form a "Public Vigilante Force" and go out and effect a private citizen arrest on these illegal fishing criminals.
I personally do not like, having 250 citizens of the world, everyday, all future travelers to this beautiful country, write in, after having seen the barbaric and criminal slaughter of protected Cape Fur Seals. I would rather they become aware of South Africa's great wildlife, for the beauty they possess in the wild, healthy and free.
So as of last check, over 537 people have clicked on and seen the horrific Power Point Show on fisherman illegally killing seals from 22 countries, there are over 287 signed comments for you to view - http://www.canadianvoiceforanimals.org/SASealAlert_index.html .
Please therefore let me know, when the number of civilized citizens of the world, will deserve your response, a 1000, 30 000 or is it a million, and finally get you to BAN guns at sea during fishing trips.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
+27 021-790 8774