uShaka Sea World hosts five day workshop for KZN Small Scale Fisheries monitors

The uShaka Sea World Education Centre has welcomed 23 KwaZulu-Natal Small Scale Fisheries monitors and co-ordinators for a week of interactive training.

The object of the workshop is to equip fisheries monitors and their project co-ordinators with the confidence to teach marine harvesters in their local communities about fisheries management.

Sibusiso Ngobese and Siphelele Chiliza (uSW), measuring a tagged fish (model)

This small group of dedicated conservationists spend their days on KZN community beaches from sunrise to sunset, monitoring what is taken out of the sea and from the rocks in designated areas along the coast.

Their responsibilities are twofold – to record and submit accurate data that is forwarded to coastal management agencies, and to encourage willing compliance with coastal harvesting regulations through education.

Thandozani Tembe, Siphelele Chiliza (uSW), Philile Zwane and Vela Nhlenama

Many of the monitors have been working along the coast for many years and have a thorough knowledge of the common fish species, as well as targeted animals like octopi, limpets, mussels, red bait and crabs. They expressed a need to know more about the workings of marine ecosystems.

In order to share their commitment to ensure the KZN remains a healthy sustainable source of protein for decades to come, they needed the ability to communicate with their local communities effectively.

The group of dedicated conservationists, with Kwanda Mchunu and Sazi Sibisi of the uShaka Sea World Education Centre

The Director of the uShaka Sea World Education Centre, Jone Porter, conducted the first two days of the workshop and was inspired by their enthusiasm.

“Teaching a community teacher is most rewarding, as the knowledge you share will be shared over and over again as the ripple effect spreads throughout communities," says Jone.

People are more likely to respect rules if they understand why the rules are in effect and what the long-term effects of non-compliance could be. The monitors are not law enforcement officers and focus on recording accurate data, which remains anonymous.

uShaka's Sazi Sibisi with Thabo Mabaso, who is receiving his certificate. The certificate, awarded by SAAMBR, is to certify that Thabo has successfully completed a course on Training the Trainer for Basic Fisheries Management

The workshop is specially designed not only to share knowledge but to equip the attendees with the necessary skills to be able to teach what they have learned in a way that is easily understood and respected.

Food webs, ecosystems, fish biology, life on the rocky shores and measuring the impact of harvesting are part of everyday life on the coast, and therefore make up most of the topics covered by the workshop.

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