For those of us wondering about the fate of our oceans, this story is sure to make you believe that our planet lies in capable hands.
Morne Yon, Nomfusi Msitho & Robert Kyzer, three of the 13 Marine Coastal Community Monitors (MCCMs) shared their stories of how this group of young warriors have been working daily for just over two exciting years with WWF South Africa, based at the WWF Kogelberg Small Scale Fisheries Satellite Office. The group are all from the three Kogelberg fishing communities; Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay and Pringle Bay. Their backgrounds and characters are interestingly diverse, each having an inspiring, humbling story to tell – all who have been introduced to the environmental sector through this project.
MCCMs have the primary role to monitor- come rain or shine! Their duties include monitoring for human activities, birds, mammals, litter, estuaries and animal mortalities along the coast. After a day’s work data is captured and they discuss any interesting finds such as active bird nesting sites and even sardine runs!
Conservation through Education
Since the MCCMs contract is an informal learnership focused on bolstering the fisheries compliance sector in the area, it is vital that they are academically equipped. As such, they have not only been diligently monitoring the Kogelberg, along the beautiful West Coast, but have been studying too, all while assisting with WWF conservation projects in the region. Contrary to the usual trend in ecotourism and fishing communities, there has been a noteworthy presence of female monitors! In the first year of their term the group began their academic journey by upgrading their matric results. In the second year twelve MCMMs participated in the Criminal Law Enforcement Programme (CLEP) which they passed with flying colours: a whopping 92%!. They are now hard at work studying for Higher Certificates in Criminal Justice – (HC:JC), registered with Nelson Mandela University.
Going above the call of duty
The MCCMs have gone above and beyond and shown their potential by taking up community leadership roles. This included assisting fishers with their Interim Relief (IR) permits application, on-boarding fishers onto the Abalobi Fisher App and liaising with fishers for the Baited Remote Unwater Videos (BRUVs). They were also instrumental in assisting their stakeholders, the Overstrand Municipality, CapeNature, the Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), with community surveys, beach mortality removals, estuary water sampling and more.
This is just the beginning for our champion MCCMs who still have much to look forward to with upcoming trainings including firefighting, training with the Overstrand Wildfire Volunteers and some more skills-building up their sleeve, depending on their study schedules. Watch this space!
Morne Yon, Nomfusi Msitho & Robert Kyzer | Marine Coastal Community Monitors (MCCMs)