The Honda and Falcon collaboration

Honda outboards powering a Falcon RIB

Honda Marine and Falcon Inflatables, one of the pioneers of the South African inflatable boat building industry, teamed up 8 years ago to launch the ‘ribEXTREME’ range of quality RIBs into the SA market. Amongst many achievements and International awards, over a period of 28 years, Falcon Inflatables have produced many Championship winning boats, including several overall wins in the coveted annual 1000km Trans Agulhas Challenge, the toughest event of its kind in the world.
Falcon also produced the first rigid inflatable boat to navigate the entire South African coastline at the hands of adventurer Mike Baker back in 1989. Product users range from recreational to Government, applications include watersport, fishing, rescue, patrol, police, surveying, conservation, medical (ambulance) and more, and products are in use in more than 30 countries globally. During 2012 the Falcon brand was awarded imported RIB of the year in Australia.

Cape Nature's Honda-powered Falcon Patrol Boat based at Robberg

The collaboration resulted in a range of top quality, ISO certified high specification RIB packages powered by Honda Marine. The collaboration achieved great retail success and while sales slowed somewhat due to the global economic downturn, the relationship continued to prosper. Apart from large numbers of local sales, at a commercial level the partnership has to date resulted in the commissioning of several research, conservation, patrol and medical service vessels globally.

Honda-powered 7.6m Falcon Ambulance RIBS being used in the Middle East

The partnership shares a mutual passion for quality, efficiency, reliability and the ultimate in long term durability. Our team of experts pay careful attention to every detail so you don’t have to – all in our quest to bring you the most hassle-free boating experience possible. Available from Honda Marine dealerships Nationwide.




The changing face of the Swartvlei estuary By Nick Hanekom (SANParks)

SANParks reaseach RIB powered by a Honda BF50HP at work

Swartvlei, which has been rated as the seventh most important estuarine system in South Africa, consists of a large (9 km²) and fairly deep lake, which is linked to the sea by a 7 km long estuary. The estuary is open to the sea approximately 50 percent of the time, and is often closed during the winter months. The estuary has large sandflats which provide an important habitat for burrowing, invertebrate bait species, which in turn are a food source for fishes and birds frequenting the estuary.

Field surveys done by SANParks in 2008 noted that the intertidal sand-flats were mostly bare of Cape eelgrass and supported large populations of the common sandprawn, but relatively few burrowing shellfish.  However, since 2009 there has been a progressive increase in size of intertidal eelgrass beds, and in the abundance of burrowing shellfish, such as beaked clam, lesser heart-clam and littoral tellin, a concomitant decrease in the size of the sandprawn beds.

The common Sandprawn

This was especially prominent on the sandflats of the lower and middle reaches of the estuary, and by late 2012 the extent of the sandprawn beds had decreased by approximately a quarter of its original size. Researchers from the University of Cape Town noted that the densities of the common sandprawn colonising the sandflats of Langebaan Lagoon were negatively correlated to the cover of Cape eelgrass, and at sites where eelgrass was absent sandprawns extended farther up the shore and reached a larger maximum size than in its presence.

Burrowing clams found in the eelgrass bed

The common sandprawn is itself an important structuring agent of faunal assemblages of sandflats.  Through its burrowing and feeding activities, the sandprawn continually turn over the substratum and reduce its micro-algae contents. Experiments have shown that this process exerts a strongly negative influence on the feeding of the beaked clam and the surface grazing tick shell (a tiny whelk), and appears to substantially reduce the densities of these species on the sandflats.

Surface burrow openings of the common sandprawn

Therefore, the current abundance of clams in the Swartvlei estuary is apparently closely linked to the extent of eelgrass cover. The distribution of eelgrass in temporary open and closed estuaries, like Swartvlei, is influenced mainly by the substratum and the height and turbidity of the water. A stable substratum and clear water generally promotes the growth of Cape eelgrass.  Thus, the current situation in Swartvlei is likely to persist until the next large flood smoothers the eelgrass beds with fine silt. SANParks is monitoring the situation and appreciates the involvement of companies such as Honda Marine Southern Africa and its dealer network in marine conservation work.

Eelgrass beds with shell remains of the beaked clam







Honda 2013 Motorsports Overview

Honda Civic WTCC and MotoGP RC213V

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has just announced the key features of its 2013 motorsports programme, including its motorsports strategy and initiatives for expanding the popularity of motorsports. Right from the start, Honda has always made an effort in motorsports, aiming for the world’s top level. In both motorcycle and automobile racing, Honda currently competes in or provides support to more than 100 race categories around the world.

The challenging spirit that symbolizes Honda motorsports has now taken root in every region of the world through these activities. Honda will continue and enhance its involvement in motorsports on a global scale, so that it can ensure growth in ways befitting Honda and meet the expectations of even more customers worldwide while aiming to expand further joys. 

1. Motorsports Strategy

Motorcycle activities

MotoGP RCV213V

In the MotoGP, the premier class of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Series, the Honda factory team of Repsol Honda Team will put forward a lineup of two riders. Joining Dani Pedrosa on the team this season will be Marc Márquez, the Moto2 class champion from last season. Entering the MotoGP with the RC213V and its enhanced performance Honda is targeting to win all three championship titles this year ― rider’s, team’s, and constructor’s ― and will also supply machines to its satellite teams, making a total of three teams and four riders.

In the Moto2 class, Honda has been providing active support since 2010 as the sole official engine supplier, supplying an engine based on the CBR600RR unit. Now Honda has decided to serve as the official engine supplier for three more years until 2015. With the aim of reinvigorating motorcycle racing in the Asia region, Honda will provide support to IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, a new team joining the Moto2 class this season. The team manager will be Tadayuki Okada. Yuki Takahashi, now in his fourth season as a Moto2 class rider, will compete for this new team.

In the MFJ All-Japan Motocross Championship Series, Akira Narita, last year’s series champion, will compete again in the premier IA1 class, along with Makoto Ogata, who placed sixth in the rankings. In the IA2 class, Honda will enter Masami Tanaka, who placed third in the class last season, joining Team HRC for a total of three team riders.

Moreover, Honda aims to capture titles in series races held around the world, including the FIM Superbike World Championship Series, the FIM World Motocross Championship Series, the FIM Trial World Championship Series, and the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship Series.

This year, Honda’s factory team competed in the Dakar Rally for the first time in 24 years. Drawing on the technologies and know-how acquired through this year’s participation, Honda plans to compete in the rally once again in 2014.

Automobile activities

Honda Civic WTCC

Honda participated in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) from the Japan round in October 2012. Honda will fully participate in the WTCC this season, with the factory Honda Racing Team JAS competing with two cars. Honda has further enhanced the performance of these machines, which are based on the 5-door Civic sold in the European market. For drivers, Gabriele Tarquini will now join Tiago Monteiro, who made a podium finish by winning third place in the Macau round last season, as they go after both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. Honda will also supply a machine to a private team, with the aim of further revitalizing this race category.

In the SUPER GT Series, Honda will compete in the GT500 class using the HSV-010 GT with its performance further improved, and aims to recapture its dual driver’s and team’s championship titles with its five teams and five cars. In the GT300 class, Honda will now support two private teams this year, supplying them with the CR-Z GT equipped with a racing hybrid system. Starting in the 2014 season, Honda plans to compete in the GT500 class with SUPER GT racing machines based on the NSX Concept.

Honda HSV-010 GT

In the Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA Series, a new name for the former Japanese Championship Formula NIPPON, Honda will equip eight cars with the enhanced competitive power of the 3.4L V8 HR12E engines for four teams and will battle to win the dual titles of driver’s and team’s championships.

In North America’s premier IndyCar® Series for open-wheel racing, Honda will supply the 2.2L V6 HI13RT turbo engine to seven teams and eleven machines, as it seeks to win the engine manufacturer’s title. The Japanese driver Takuma Sato will compete in all races of the IndyCar® Series for his fourth season, representing A.J. Foyt Racing, as well as compete selectively in Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA Series this season including the first race of the season.

In the LMP1 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) for 2013, Honda will supply the ARX-03c chassis developed by HPD and a 3.4L V8 LM-V8 engine to support the racing of the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team. In the LMP1 class of the 24 Heures du Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans), Honda will supply the ARX-03c chassis and the LM-V8 engines to the Strakka Racing and JRM Racing teams. In the LMP2 class, Honda will supply the ARX-03b chassis and the 2.8L HR 28TT V6 twin turbo engine to the Level 5 Motorsports team. Strakka Racing will also compete in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In the LMP2 class of the European Le Mans Series, Honda will supply the ARX-03b chassis and the HR 28TT V6 engine to the Northstar Motorsports team.

2. Expanding the Popularity of Motorsports
Honda has actively developed programmes to expand the popularity of motorsports, including a diversity of activities undertaken to communicate the appeal of motorsports to a broad spectrum of fans around the world. These activities range from such world-class races as the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) to various events that can be enjoyed in a casual setting, in addition to the company’s programmes for developing motorcycle and automobile racing talent.

As a new programme, Honda is now actively considering the hosting of a participatory motorsports event using the N-ONE, a mini-vehicle model gaining noted popularity across a large range of customers in Japan. In 2013, Honda plans to hold a demonstration runs and exhibition events, starting in April with “Enjoy Honda” which will be held at the Suzuka Circuit, with the aim to turn the event into a race series starting in the 2014 season.




Rookie racer series extended to Cape

By Dave Abrahams (iol Motoring)

Rookie Honda NSF100 Racing

Is your child the next world champion? That question is being asked in all seriousness by the founders of the SA Motorcycle Racing Academy, a non-profit organisation dedicated to finding and nurturing young motorcycle racing talent. The academy does that by running its own one-make racing series for children from eight to 14 years old, using identical 100cc racing motorcycles provided by Honda SA, so that the only criteria for success are the talent and will to win of the rider.

Honda NSF100 Rookie Racing proving highly popular

On race days, parents aren’t allowed anywhere near the bikes, each if which is tuned and set up to exactly the same specifications. The riders draw their bike numbers out of a helmet, so not even the organisers know ahead of time who is riding which bike.

And it makes no difference if your child has never ridden a motorcycle; most academy rookies so far have been just that – rookies. That’s the way founders Neill Forbes and Neil Harran prefer it, because full training by top SA Superbike racers is part of the deal, during “Boot Camp” weekends at Red Star Raceway in Gauteng, where the emphasis is on making sure the kids have as much fun as possible, while learning the elements of racecraft.

NSF100 Rookie Racing in full flight

Extending to the Cape
The academy has been running in Gauteng since 2009 (current Grand Prix rider Brad Binder was one of that first class) and similar programmes using the same type of motorcycle have been underway in Japan since 2006 and in Italy since 2008.

Noah Isaacs from Cape Town - 1st Entrant in the Western Cape NSF Cup Series

Now Forbes and Harran are extending the SA Motorcycle Racing Academy programme to the Western Cape, under the guidance of ‘racing dad’ Lance Jonas, himself a former competitor, whose son Hayden has just won his second consecutive Regional title – at 14!

There are 18 places available for the Western Province NSF Cup Series, over a minimum of nine rounds. The cost is about R2000 per round, and includes everything except the rider’s helmet, leathers, gloves and boots – even crash damage is covered by the organisers. All the riders have to do is pitch up and ride.

At the launch of the Western Province series Harran admitted that motorcycle racing is never cheap, but said this was the least expensive – and most hassle-free – way to get a budding Rossi or Lorenzo started in circuit racing.

Genuine Racing Bikes

The NSF100 is a purpose-built racing motorcycle. There is no road-going version of this model

The NSF100 is a purpose-built racing motorcycle, designed and made by HRC, the competition arm of Honda Motorcycles, there is no road-going version of this model.

It has a short-stroke 99cc single-cylinder engine, delivering 6.2kW at 9500rpm and 7.4Nm at 7000rpm.

It runs a compact wheelbase of only 1074mm and chunky tyres on 12” rims, giving it a seat height of 681mm and making it ideally suited to riders of 8-14 years old.

Dry weight is 73.6kg and the NSF100 has a top speed of about 110km/h – fast enough to make it seriously exciting on a tight, twisty kart circuit.

To get your child on to an NSF100, contact Neill Forbes at 083 630 4253 or Neil Harran at 082 360 3684.



Chaparral 226 SSi – The Bold Bowrider
By Dean Castle from Leisure Boating magazine

Chaparral 226 SSi

It’s an ambition that’s about as old as time itself – to build a sportboat which is versatile, doesn’t price itself beyond its competition, and most importantly, is filled with quality. That is, until now! Chaparral seems to have found the balance with their 226 SSi; and with the Wide-Tech bow, this craft has enough room to offer the adults some relaxation at the bow while the kids play at the stern, since that’s what the 226 seems to be all about – family time…

Chaparral 226 SSi

Like the rest of their line-up, Chaparral’s 226 SSi is built to last. Featuring a fibreglass liner construction for precise fit and finish, and Kevlar reinforcement for added strength, it’s no wonder that Chaparral owners rarely sell their boats. With their roots stemming back to the year 1965, Chaparral knows what you want from your time on the water. Let’s take a look at what they think you need from the 226 SSi:

Deck layout
Starting aft, the full-beam swim platform (0.61 m in length) features small, pull-up cleats in the corners. Classy and convenient, a stereo remote is paired with a tilt switch (for the stern drive) and is mounted onto a stainless plate that is recessed into a moulded spot on the transom. A three-step boarding ladder is enclosed in the starboard side of the swim platform. Just forward of the stern platform is a luxurious sunpad. Measuring 0.91 m x 2.03 m, this area has a variety of features, making it more than just a place to catch a tan.

3 step boarding ladder

The sunpad is in three sections – one directly over the engine and one each to port and starboard. The pad can lie flat or it can be made into a chaise longue with the back tilted up on the side. The starboard pad opens to reveal a fibreglass walkway from the stern to the cockpit, and under that is storage.

The sunpad

To port, fold the pad back and a 23-litre portable cooler has its place out of the way. The large centre cushion lifts to reveal wet storage that self-drains out the side of the craft. Located on top of the engine, it will make a great place to dry your wet swimsuits or warm a towel after being in the water.

23-litre portable ccoler

Moving forward, you enter the cockpit from the sunpad walkthrough and step down onto a non-skid seat base. Once inside, you can cover up that seat with a padded cushion. The cockpit itself features U-shaped seating with storage under both side seats. In the cockpit, you can comfortably seat six people. The 226 SSi has a rated capacity for 12 people, a high number for this size boat – but here it is actually possible, unlike some others in its class.

Cockpit area with ski storage locker

At the helm, Chaparral went with a classy layout with square gauges and chrome bezels. The ergonomics of the helm are excellent and I was able to see clearly through the windshield from the seated position, rather than stare at the windshield frame. For the pilot and co-pilot, Chaparral has provided bucket seating. Aside from the fact that they are very comfortable, they’re very easy to operate. For swivel and slide, simply pull up a lever (located in the lower part of the armrest, alongside your knee) to get the seat perfect for you. Both seats also have flip-up bolsters in case you require the extra height.

Helm instrumentation

The bow area is where the 226’s Wide-Tech really comes into play. The pickle-fork design allows for the bow rider section to be wider and longer, and therefore more accommodating for up to five adults. There’s storage under both side seats, and fully forward is another cushion which lifts to reveal a built-in, insulated cooler that drains overboard. In the centre of the bow ‘deck’ is a good-sized anchor locker, complete with a holster – so your anchor won’t be rattling around inside the compartment.

Bow storage areas

If you’re looking to add some options, I highly recommend the wakeboard tower. It includes two wakeboard holders and a colour coordinated Bimini top with boot.

Wakeboard holders

Although a small feature, I really like that the 226 has fuel filling caps on both sides of the craft. Whether on the trailer or in the water, this benefit becomes handy at the pumps when the station’s line can’t reach the other side of the boat – but it’s especially great for the days on the river when conditions, such as the wind, don’t always allow you to pick which side is closest to the fuel pump.

Fuel fillers on both sides

As with most boats in this genre, the 226 provides shelter for those in the cockpit once you have closed the passageway door and windscreen – which, might I add, is pinned in the open position magnetically. 

When it comes time to laying down a beat, the 226 has a decent enough sound. As mentioned above, the system is operated from various places around the craft and is piped to several quality speakers. There’s the option to plug in your own player at the co-pilot binnacle too! The sound system as we heard on the review was the standard option, however, a high-performance option is available.

Sound system

The Chaparral 226 SSi has a sleek profile and sporty good looks – whether she’s moored to the jetty or running on the water. For her pure performance, the designers incorporated their unique (and exclusive) extended V-plane into the 226’s hull which claims to be the most awarded hull design in boating. This is a feature that extends the running surface well past the collar of the sterndrive lower unit attached to the transom. Results have shown that the added surface area beyond the transom show quicker times to plane and much less bow rise.

The 226 has the choice between MerCruiser and Volvo inboard engine options, ranging from a 5-litre (260 HP) to a 6.2-litre (320 HP), if you’re looking for bragging rights. Our review boat was fitted with a MerCruiser 5.7-litre 350 Mag and coupled with the Bravo 3 drive as the stern leg. I found that she’s a very quick boat on her feet; and at our review site at the Vaal, she claimed a top speed of 84.5 km/h (GPS) while the engine was pumping at 4 800 rpm – impressive for a boat of her size performing at the Reef. She’s probably most in her element at around 40 km/h (3 000 rpm), while at a more modest 28 km/h (2 500 rpm) the 226 throws out a decent enough wake for some intermediate wakeboarding.

Engine compartment

Of everything this craft has to offer, I would probably most commend her for the fine control she gives the skipper. On the test day, the wind was kicking up some chop across the water. Although not big enough to cause havoc, it did prove to me that the 226 is designed to handle rough conditions. Add into the equation the waves I was making, and I was confident that this boat is built strong since she carved nicely through everything I threw at her. It was at this stage that I really appreciated the rubber seals on all of the doors around the craft as the sporty growl of the engine is something you won’t want to miss. 

The hull of the 226 SSi uses reverse chines, so when turning hard-over, she really digs in and holds it without sliding. There is a minimal bleed-off of speed in the tight corners, but as soon as the wheel straightens up, she’ll stretch her legs again. As an everyday skipper, you’ll enjoy the comfort of her gentle turns and how effortlessly she cuts wakes. And if you’re still not satisfied with safety, the 226 has high gunwales – the arch-enemy of adventure-seeking kids.


The Chaparral 226 SSi (with the engine as reviewed) has a base price of R740 000 on its aluminium trailer with braked axles. What you get for that money is a premium boat with excellent looks, styling, and very good performance. It only takes one quick glance over the 226 to notice that she has been given luxury at every corner. In fact, if you look at every individual feature on the craft and compare it to comparable boats, you will find that Chaparral has taken the steps to better the quality to the finest detail – showing that they strive to be the best in offering true, top quality. 

If you’re in the market for something imported and arguably unrivalled for quality, the 226 SSi really ought to top your list.

For more information, contact your local authorised Honda Marine dealer or call the Honda Care Line on 0800 466 321.




Chaparral 277 SSX combining luxury features with sportboat handling (courtesy of

Chaparral 277 SSX

Chaparral may have opened the doors to some interesting innovations on its 277 SSX but we think the real story is in her performance and handling. She turns as if on rails showing no chine walk or tendency to fall off the turn. And we’re just getting warmed up. Our full test and performance review is now ready for viewing.

For the full Chaparral 277 SSX review go to:



Turning the purchase of a Used (Pre-owned) Boat into a good experience

Buying the right pre-owned boat can give great results...

A used boat will cost less than a new boat and therefore if you choose the right boat first time you can find yourself getting a lot of value for your money, making it a wise investment. If you follow a basic set of guidelines, study all the pros and cons, and rather purchase from a reputable dealer than privately or online, there is every chance that you’ll make your purchase a good experience, giving you and your family in the longer term endless hours of pleasure on the water.

For example when purchasing a pre-owned boat from a reputable Dealer, the Dealer will ensure that the boat is registered in your name, free of any encumbrances, as well as ensure that the vessel is supplied with a current seaworthiness certificate (COF) in your name, and that all the documentation pertaining to the vessel’s flotation and seaworthiness, and trailer registration, are present and correct. The other positive to consider when purchasing from a dealer is that you, as the consumer are protected under the consumer protection act, against material defects and there is an implied 6 month warranty, which you do not have when purchasing privately or for example on Gumtree.

Best to buy a used boat from a reputable marine dealer

It is a common misconception that the Dealers are more expensive when considering a pre-owned boat.  The overall market which is way more powerful than all the Dealers put together, will ultimately determine at what price boats will change hands. It often happens that someone purchases a “bargain” on Gumtree (or other online mediums) only to discover, sadly and more often than not too late in the day, that they could have bought a later model, an overall better boat package, free of defects for way less from the Dealer.

Often when a vessel is purchased privately, it sometimes transpires that the boat does not have a flotation certificate, or indeed any form of flotation which essentially renders the boat useless in its current condition.  So what was supposed to be the start of a fun process turns into an expensive exercise, leaving you stranded with an inferior boat package option when compared to the same-priced ‘ready to go’ unit that you could have bought from a reputable dealer.

The main GUIDELINES to purchasing a used boat privately are as follows:

  • First appearances of a used boat are crucial, if it’s dirty or looks a little shoddy, then that’s just a precursor of what more is to come, so rather just walk away, it’s not worth the risk.
  • Is there a current manufacturer’s flotation certificate for the boat?
  • Is the trailer registered in the name of the seller?
  • Does the chassis number reflected on the registration certificate of the
 trailer match the number stamped on the trailer?
  • Are there any outstanding hire purchases on the vessel?
  • Does the boat have a current Seaworthiness Certificate (COF), and if not, 
when was the last survey done as this is an ongoing annual requirement?
  • It’s a used boat, so it’s had a previous owner. Try and get hold of him or her, find out why they’re selling, ask them how the boat performs and handles, and most importantly how was the boat looked after.
  • Visually inspect the boat for any obvious damage or repair work meaning that at some stage it’s been involved in an accident.
  • Check the condition of the hull. If it’s fibreglass, check for blisters, gouges, separation or leakage between the hull and the deck.
  • Is the boat equipped with a 2-Stroke or a 4-Stroke engine? The initial 
purchase of a 4-Stroke will be more expensive, but the cost of overall
 ownership will be a lot less.
  • You must TEST a used boat on the water, Do not buy on a visual inspection only. Look out for all the obvious things – is she taking on water, how does the boat handle, are there any vibrations or rattles, essentially just make sure that everything is working.

    You must TEST the boat on the water

  • Start the engine and check that the impeller is pumping a solid stream of
  • With the engine running check to see that the gearbox is working properly 
when engaging both forwards and reverse.
  • If the engine is equipped with power trim and tilt check the operation of the
  • Check to see that the steering system is free and smooth, or if the boat is
 equipped with Hydraulic steering that there are no hydraulic fluid leaks. If
 the boat is equipped with an engine larger than 90HP, it should ideally be
 rigged with hydraulic steering as this will greatly benefit your driving 
comfort and your overall boating experience, as well as future 
potential resale value.
  • Checking to see that the Transom is in good condition is absolutely crucial. Check that there are no cracks, stress fractures or rotting as this is
 potentially a very expensive repair, sometimes costing more than the 
actual value of the hull, making it not worthwhile to fix.

    Check the transom area thoroughly

  • Check to see that the deck is sound and not cracked and sagging.
  • If there are inspection hatches in the deck, check the timbers below deck
 for integrity, eg. free of rot.
  • Check the trailer for corrosion and cracks, also check the wheel bearings because there should be no play in the wheels. A new trailer can cost up to R25 000 depending on the size of the boat, so the condition of the trailer plays a very important role in your overall boating experience being a pleasant one.
  • Preferably buy a used boat from the region in which you live, so that you have some sort of closer proximity recourse should there be any problems.
  • Finally before you arrive home with your new pride and joy, your Used Boat, make sure that you have your partner’s full consent to make that purchasing decision.
Rocking up at the house with something unannounced hitched to the back of your car could have unpleasant repercussions…!

Popped out to the shops and look what I got...!

If any of these items do not check out, rather give your nearest Honda Marine dealer a call and let them assist you in appraising the vessel. It might save you from a bad experience and help to ensure that your time spent on the water is rather one full of fun and enjoyment.

NB. Information supplied by Honda Marine Somerset West


Shaping the future of ocean management in South Africa
By Heather Dugmore

Juvenile African Penguin

If you travel the 65 kilometres from Gordon’s Bay to Bot River in the Western Cape, you will experience a coastline of rugged beauty that is a key breeding ground for many of South Africa’s endangered linefish (including galjoen, white and red steenbras), abalone (perlemoen) and the west coast rock lobster. This stretch also includes Stony Point, home to one of only two mainland colonies in South Africa for the African penguin, which is at risk of extinction by 2025. It is here that through the Kogelberg Coast Integrated Management Plan (KCIMP), the WWF-SA Integrated Ocean Management Programme hopes to help shape the future of ocean management in South Africa.
Peter Chadwick, manager of the programme say that “by integrating the local communities, terrestrial, coastal and marine environments into one unit within the Kogelberg Biosphere we believe we will be able to create resilient ecosystems with positive economic and social benefits for the local communities,” he explains. Many of these communities rely on the sea for their livelihoods, with approximately 300 small-scale fishers living and fishing in the area.

These fishers once regarded marine protection as something that denied them their right to a living. This has been changing over the past four years with concerted input from the coastal conservation project team, coupled with the gazetting of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy earlier this year. The policy aims to ensure that small-scale fishers are allocated their fair share of inshore resources, and the KCIMP will be one of the pilot sites that will test the policy’s implementation, as well as being a test case for the new thinking around community inclusion in marine conservation.

Catch of Carpenter

The study area extends from the Steenbras Estuary within False Bay through to the Bot River between Kleinmond and Hermanus. This area covers 65 kilometres of coastline and potentially extends as far out as 12 nautical miles (about 20 kilometres). The Bettys Bay MPA will form a core component of the larger marine managed area.

“For MPAs to succeed we have to create a sense of ownership and protection of the marine resources amongst the small-scale fishers and coastal communities,” says Chadwick.

Within the KCIMP it has been proposed that 20% of the marine resources would be protected as a no-take zone and 80% would be focused on improved resource management with preferential access for small-scale fishers who currently compete for resources with recreational fishers and transient fishers who travel to the area to catch west coast rock lobster and to take advantage of the seasonal migratory pelagic species such as cape salmon, yellowtail and snoek. “This puts pressure on what the local fishers can take out, and we need to address this in terms of sustainable fisheries practice and the new Small-scale Fisheries Policy,” says Chadwick.

Local fisherman at work

While the small-scale fishers don’t catch large amounts of fish by volume, many of their catch species are over-exploited and down to 2-3% of their original populations, including abalone, red steenbras and West Coast rock lobster.

To work towards a win-win for the local small-scale fishers and for biodiversity protection, the KCIMP will be working to ensure the correct species quota and methodologies are practised in the area to ensure food and water security for all.

“Although the focus of the KCIMP is on the marine environment we are working with a range of partners to ensure a healthy functioning of the whole area, including the local estuaries and catchment areas,” says Chadwick who explains that an integrated approach is necessary to avoid knock on effects. “For example, if you do not manage your water catchments properly – including alien plant control, fire management and controlling water extraction for farming and pollution – it has a huge negative impact on downstream water resources, with the result that your estuaries do not function properly and this, in turn, directly impacts the linefish nursery areas,” explains Chadwick.

“In the past we focused on improving the management effectiveness of the marine protected area in isolation, but in the last couple of years we have realised this cannot be successfully achieved if it is not addressed in the context of the broader land- and seascape,” he adds. Hence the plans for the formation of the Kogelberg Coastal Forum, which will include representatives from the entire community including local fishers, governing agencies and ratepayers.

West Coast Rock Lobsters

There is strong support for this initiative from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Department of Environmental Affairs: Branch – Oceans & Coasts, CapeNature, The Kogelberg Biosphere and Overstrand Municipality.

“Before re-engaging with the communities we first made sure that we have government support at the highest level, which we now have,” says Chadwick. “It is essential to implement the plan with official government support because a poorly enforced conservation plan is nothing but a boon to poachers, and abalone (perlemoen) poaching is a major problem in the area.” It is hoped that the formation of a strong, collaborative marine conservation plan that very much includes the local fishers and their livelihoods, will start to change this. “With the new approach to ocean management we are hoping that they will start to take ownership of their marine resources, and become part of the conservation, policing and government team that is working against poaching and towards ensuring sustainable use of our limited marine resources.”