08 March 2005

No more jetskis allowed in Cape Peninsula

The authorities are set to enforce a ban on jetskis around the Cape Peninsula from Mouille Point to Muizenberg.

The blanket ban on jetskis in Peninsula waters was introduced in June last year when the entire coastline from the Mouille Point lighthouse to Surfers' Corner at Muizenberg was declared a marine protected area.

But some jetski operators say they know nothing about the ban, and that they have permits from the city council which allow them to operate the high-powered wavecraft around the Peninsula.

The marine protected area extends at least 10km out to sea and further in certain places, and is an extension of the Table Mountain National Park.

Paul Sieben, who manages the national park's marine component, confirmed on Monday that jetskis had been banned with the declaration of the marine protected area last year.

The decision was taken with the department of environment's marine and coastal management, which can place restrictions on craft in protected areas.

Sieben said the ban was introduced mainly because of the noise of jetskis and the disturbance they cause to marine mammals, particularly whales and dolphins.

He confirmed that certain commercial jetski operators, who offered the craft for hire around the Peninsula, had permits from the city council.

However, the city had jurisdiction only up to the high water mark.

Sieben said he had had discussions with council officials regarding jetskis, and the council had agreed they would "address the problem".

"The city is looking at zoning certain areas in which to allow jetskis to operate. These would be outside the Peninsula's marine protected area and could be at Blouberg or Gordon's Bay. Once the city has got its regulations in place, we will enforce the jetski ban in the Peninsula," Sieben said.

The organisers of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surfing contest off Hout Bay had indicated to National Parks that they would apply for an exemption from the ban during the annual contest when jetskis were used as safety craft.

Stephen Matthews, who runs a jetski hire company from Three Anchor Bay, said yesterday he knew nothing of the ban, nor had he been informed about it by the authorities.

"We have a permit from the city council and this is the fifth year we've been operating," Matthews said.

Tourists hire his jetskis and use them in the area from Granger Bay to Clifton.

Nan Rice of the Dolphin Action and Protection Group said she also had not heard of the jetski ban.

"The noise of a jetski does disturb whales and dolphins, there's no question about it, and I believe they should be controlled. But I've never been in favour of an outright ban on things like this because my experience is, it never works," Rice said.


Post a Comment

<< Home