I don’t normally point the finger, but I have grown pissed off with the way I have seen some conventional anglers behave lately. Illegal driving on beaches, the devastating effects of excessive bait collecting in estuaries and not practicing catch and release are just a few of the things I despise.
Nothing wrong with keeping a fish now and again, but sometimes it seems that certain anglers never release a catch. Take a look at Cape Town Rock & Surf Fishing on Facebook, no catch and release pics ever.
But in my books the worst crime fishermen commit against nature, is dumping balls of fishing line where they have been fishing (along with empty pilchard boxes and other garbage). It’s as if some people feel they have the right to use nature as their garbage can.
Last week I was targeting spotted grunter in the small estuary situated within the De Hoop nature reserve. I walked past a conventional angler and saw a grunter tail sticking out of a plastic bucket. Three bait rods lined up in plastic tubes. A few hundred meters on I came across this site:
Two Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) entangled in discarded fishing line. The one was dead the other still alive but clearly very exhausted. It might have been there for more than a day, who knows.
As i approached the surviving one panicked and tried to get away, but eventually collapsed again. I slowly approached it and placed my hand on its head, which seemed to calm it. It rested its head on the sand while I cut it loose.
I carried it to the water, it was now completely calm, and released it into the water, where it swam away. It did seem a bit unsteady on its legs in the shallows, but managed to swim ok.
This particular estuary is home to about 180 bird species, and many visitors travel here specifically for the birding. It is absolutely unacceptable that some individuals with zero regards for nature conservation feel they have a right to use places like these as a thrash can.