The Perilous Sea around Cape Point _ Part II

The Atlantic Sea is rough and powerful on the western side of the Cape Peninsula coastline and it speaks of failed and doomed fishing exploitation.  Evidence of discarded fishing gear is everywhere, fishing nets, bundles of rope, plastic, gut lines, anchor weights, lobster traps.  Plastic detritus is in fabric of the sand, in the dried kelp line, between the rocks.  How did we get to this tipping point, how can we ever reverse the damage?  The despondency of it all is so overwhelming that it makes me want to curl up and weep.

In the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve there is a coastal path along the western side of Cape Point to Olifantsbos.  It is the wild side, a place of sea birds, baboons, seals.  There is no way to get close to this wild Cape fur seal and free it of from that line of rope so deeply embedded into its neck.

Fishing net hazard on beach Fishing nets hazard on beach Nylon rope discarded fishing gear Plastic sack degrading on beach Discarded fishing net on beach Discarded Cape lobster trap Discarded Cape lobster trap half buried in sand Discarded lobster trap washed up by sea Piles of discarded fishing rope washed up on the shore Cape lobster trap washed ashore Discarded fishing net on beach Mound of discarded fishing rope on beach

23 thoughts on “The Perilous Sea around Cape Point _ Part II

  1. We have a lot of work to do….tis sshocking how much damage we the humans are doing 😥
    a small hope…where i live on the south coast of oz it seems to be fairly pristine from what you can see w the naked eye

    1. I take heart that there are areas not so affected and generally it appears the southern hemisphere oceans are not in such dire straits as those in the north with the garbage patch gyres. Cleaner air, water, fewer people.

  2. Such a sad, sad situation, and we are all to blame! From the food we consume that come with unsustainable by-catch to the tons and tons of waste we discard that eventually end up in our waters and wildernesses, the sea and on the coast. We have to do better.

    1. Good question! Their priorities appear to be fighting the poaching of abalone and crayfish. This stretch of coastline is accessible mainly by foot paths – I’ve yet to see any rangers actually walking the length. They could be stepping up vigilance through using drones. Maybe we’ll be seeing the use of technology in the future?

  3. Another hard-hitting series of photographs that would make excellent and informative posters! What else can we do (apart from trying to collect where we can) but try to create an ‘in-your-face’ awareness?

  4. You’re right Liz, it does make one want to weep. I guess the only good news is there seems to be a growing awareness of the damage we are doing to Mother Earth and there are some efforts underway to stop the madness. Keep shouting, our voices are beginning to be heard

  5. So sad to see and so common. The fishing industry do need to clean up their act. We saw a news item the other day with a seal here with a cut so deep it was almost beheaded! Fortunately it was captured and taken to recover at the local seal sanctuary, but it is heart-breaking to see the damage done to our wildlife.

    1. It’s so awful, and how can we ever know the full extent of what happens out in the seas. It is heart-breaking. A report in June assessing fish caught in False Bay and sold at Kalk Bay found that such species as snoek and hottentot are full of contaminates – industrial and chemical as well as pharmaceutical compounds like those found in antiretrovirals, anti-inflammatories, painkillers, antibiotics.

  6. Do you send this blog to SANPARKS?are they aware of the pollution? Who else can we alert that this stretch of coastline needs urgent attention?

    1. I’ve been sending in photos of illegal crayfishing activities, and have reported the traps, ropes and nets on the beach to SANParks marine law enforcement – yet there seems little is done. I shall send all this off again, but I don’t hold out much hope as it must be near impossible to haul out the fishing gear which is abandoned or lost overboard whilst in the water; it must wash ashore during rough, stormy weather and on high tides, as it has to cross over the kelp beds to be deposited on shore.

  7. These are sobering images… I love how you’ve captured the horror of what human’s discards have done to Mother Earth and wildlife.

    On a much lesser scale on our 62 acres, I pick up trash that is discarded by passersby on a nearby roadway, and I clean up what rubbish is carried down to our property, onward toward the river, by rains, from housing, the high school and a Walmart store on higher land south of our property. We’ve cleaned up farmer’s hay netting that’s washed in on the property, and farm implement parts left askew on the land. Discarded tires and transmission fluid containers, along with hoses and old fencing wire. But what is most difficult to find is the wildlife that gets tangled in it.

    Humans won’t do anything until it truly begins to affect them personally by suffering in some way. Those of us who understand and care, will keep rallying to help others see and understand. Your photographs need to be seen.

    1. Isn’t extraordinary how little heed people pay in discarding items which endanger wildlife?! So careless and without conscience! The list of items carried down to your property – including hay netting, discarded tires and transmission fluid containers is absolutely unconscionable!! I agree with your sentiment, Lori – that humans will only act when they are made to suffer in some way or another! I’m becoming very cynical over humanity’s motivation and lack of responsibility.

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