I would like to live in an environment that is sustainable, where the character of the coastal environment is preserved and development in these areas protects and compliments the natural environment. To see Hermanus become the most famous land-based whale watching destination in the world.
Walker Bay is the only declared whale sanctuary on the continent, unfortunately, it only offers protection to the whales for six months of the year, from July to the beginning of December. This is a good start, but we need to do more for the whales and the rest of the creatures that come to this bay to breed and spawn. We need to have Walker Bay declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA) a no take out zone for twelve months of the year. This we should implement as soon as possible and monitor for the next five years to see how the fish stocks recover from years of over-fishing in an important breeding area. South Africa needs to extend its network of (MPA’S) along our coastline in order to achieve global targets of 20%. We now have 19 marine protected areas covering approximately 15% of South Africa’s 3000km coastline. We still need to find 5% of our coastline that warrants being declared (MPA’s) and Walker Bay is the perfect candidate for (MPA) status.
The Trans Augullus rubber duck race should not be permitted to run through the whale sanctuary at the beginning of January. There are still southern right whale mothers and their calves in the bay at that time, preparing to make the long journey back to Antarctica. The race can run from Danger Point to the new harbour without having to go through the whale sanctuary.
I would like to see Hermanus receive World Heritage status as having the only Whale sanctuary and (MPA) on the continent. This is why I’m proposing Bientang’s Whale Watch Centre. To be able to better market Hermanus to the rest of the world as having a whale watch centre overlooking a whale sanctuary, in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. This would attract people from all corners of the world to come to Hermanus to see the whales, with spin off for every sector of the local economy.
Hermanus should lead the way in environmental stewardship and management for the rest of the world to follow. Walker Bay should become as famous as the Kruger Park as far as marine conservation is concerned. We now have an opportunity to make a difference and the necessary changes to legislation to preserve the biodiversity of Walker Bay for future generations to enjoy and to be a shining example for others to follow.