From: SealAlertSA firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005
OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM
8th August 2005.
It has now been 20-days, and I still have not received a reply.
The mismanagement of the Cape Fur Seals has gone on long enough. Reports by the Public Protectors Office in this regard have been sent to your office as far back as 2001, two of them in fact.
Your department of Marine and Coastal Management's claims of a healthy, thriving seal population off the coast of southern Africa, has become rather a joke, amongst those of us with the factual knowledge.
Claims of 3.7% growth over the past 100-years, are falling apart at the seams of wildlife management as we speak.
Instead, in just the last 10-years, the Cape Fur Seal population has declined by over 50%, bringing with it the biggest mass starvation and death of Marine Mammals, seals, the world has ever seen.
You should be ashamed of your current management.
With over 1000 ha of protected offshore island land, under the Seabirds and Seals Protection no 46 of 1973, seals today, are only found breeding on the smallest awash rocks or just 1% of these protected islands/rocks.
Even our biggest and only mainland Seal Colony, Kleinsee, which used to account for over 70% of the South African seal population, which shamefully until 1990, was used as South Africa's biggest commercial sealing colony, has remained excluded and overlooked in the Act.
Please therefore re-assess your management policies.
As I understand fishermen account for 0.01% of the South African population and contribute less than 0.5% to GDP. In effect 3000 licenced commercial fishing skippers are holding the 42 million South Africans, and hundreds of millions of International travelers to ransom.
Under the Constitution of South Africa, you have a duty to conserve and protect our natural environment and our heritage, with your current Cape Fur Seal Management, you are clearly not doing so.
Start considering the needs of 99.9% of the South African population, if South Africa is truly a democratically administered and elected country.
Your silence, in allowing thousands of fishing skippers licenced by your department, to carry guns to sea, with the sole intention to kill protected seals illegally, is a disgrace.
For you to continue to ignore this Criminal Activity is unconstitutional.
Therefore please transmit your policies on seals.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
083 949 6944