Issue 44

April 2023

A pair of Secretary Birds - ©Jacque Smit

Secretary Bird in Flight - ©Jacque Smit

An adult and juvenile African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene) - ©Jacque Smit

Mission Statement

The mission of the LBRCT is to conserve and protect in a sustainable manner, the natural resources and living species in the biological and ecologically sensitive Breede River Estuary and the adjoining land areas while at the same time promoting safe and lawful recreational use.

If you take an active interest in, or use, the Breede River Estuary we hope that you will consider becoming a member of the LBRCT and support our endeavours by contributing to these efforts.

Did you miss our

Annual Information Meeting?

On the 8th of April (Easter Saturday) the LBRCT hosted our Annual Information Meeting in Malgas and Witsand. The presentation contained information and updates relating to staffing and finance, as well as our compliance and conservation efforts over the last year. If you did not manage to attend the meeting but are interested in who we are and what we do in terms of the management and conservation of the Breede River Estuary please download the presentation using the link below. For any queries please email management@breede-river.org

Educational School Visits

Ouplaas Primary School

On the 10th of March we visited E.K. Primêr in Ouplaas, a small primary school nestled between the De Hoop Nature Reserve and Malgas on the gravel road to Bredasdorp. We presented a slideshow on Turtles, Terrapins, Tortoises and Snakes that are found in their environment.

As the school has very little we managed to pull some strings and organised a few donations, including:

  • 40 litres of paint (sponsored by AH Marais Swellendam)
  • 2 boxes of A4 printing paper
  • 2 rugby balls
  • 2 netballs
  • 2 netball hoops
  • 2 educational tortoises posters
  • 3 educational snake posters

And lastly, every child received their own lucky packet with treats to take home.

Vondeling Primary School

On the 24th of March the LBRCT visited Vondeling Primary School just outside Witsand to present the same educational talk on Turtles, Terrapins, Tortoises and Snakes to 100 pupils who were very well-mannered. Thank you so much to Engen 1-stop Heidelberg and Spar Heidelberg for sponsoring a food packet to every child! The LBRCT also donated educational posters on the same topic as the talk. It is always a pleasure interacting with our future generations.

Turtle Stranding Season is Here!

Loggerhead turtles nest along the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast during the summer months, with thousands of hatchlings entering the warm and fast flowing Agulhas current during January and February. These hatchlings face a number of threats during their first dash to the ocean (ghost crabs and seabirds) as well as while drifting out at sea (fish, plastic and intense weather).


Drifting with the warm Agulhas current, many of these hatchlings are carried too far south and enter cooler currents. These harsher conditions result in hatchlings washing up on our beaches after becoming weak and suffering from dehydration.


As the winter months approach the likelihood of strandings increase. The LBRCT is a proud partner of the Turtle Rescue Network, used to ensure transport for hatchlings to the rehab facility in Cape Town where they receive appropriate treatment.


Once at the Two Oceans Aquarium, the turtles are kept until after winter, giving them enough time to heal and grow in size and strength to be released back into the ocean when our waters are warmer.


What to do if you discover a stranded turtle:

  1. DO NOT PUT IT BACK IN THE WATER!
  2. Place the turtle in a small container on something soft and dry with plenty of air holes (an ice cream container or lunch box is perfect)
  3. Do not remove any barnacles or external growths
  4. Get it to a Rescue Network Partner organisation ASAP

The LBRCT is a Rescue Network Partner

028 537 1296 / 064 774 3862

Day Permits are available at the Slipways

We are pleased to announce that Day Permits are available at the public launch sites in Witsand and Infanta. Sign boards have been installed at Government Slipway, Kraaltjie and Moddergat which inform boat operators of the requirement to be in possession of a valid Municipal Boat Licence. SnapScan is available to allow you to purchase a day permit directly from the slipways.

Day permit fee: A flat rate of R 155 per day irrespective of the size of engine(s).


Here’s what you need to do:


  1. Download the SnapScan app on your smartphone.
  2. Sign up and link to your account.
  3. Scan the QR code on the sign board at the slipway. Alternatively, scan the QR code alongside to pay now.
  4. Payment calculation: Number of days x rate per day

New Law Enforcement Officers!

The LBRCT is happy to announce that we now have four additional Municipal law enforcement peace officers to strengthen by-law compliance on the Breede Estuary.

Get to know the

Birds of the Breede Estuary

Full colour A5 copies are available at our office in Witsand.

Get to know the

Fish of the Breede Estuary

Full colour A5 copies are available at our office in Witsand.

Monthly Monitoring

Water Quality and Bird Counts

The LBRCT conducts a monthly bird count and water quality run on the Breede River. Both operations are conducted at spring low tide (full moon or new moon). On the water quality run this accounts for the pushing tide increasing the salinity of the water upriver as we travel and test. The bird count takes place at low tide to observe and record the different species as they forage on the exposed mudflats.


For the latest results please click here.

Summary from April

0 birds counted
Freshwater reached: 0 km upriver
Minimum temperature: 0 °C

Keep an eye out for the launch of our next Breede River Photography Competition. Enter and stand a chance to win big prizes! The winners will be determined by an independent panel of judges comprised of professional South African photographers.


Prizes so far:

Is all your paperwork in order?

Municipal Boat Licence


Recreational boat licences for the Breede River are available from any of the six outlets as well as online (link below). In accordance with the Municipal Financial Year, all licences are valid from the 1st of July 2022 until the 30th of June 2023.


We are happy to announce that Nella se Winkel has reopened as a boat licence sales outlet in Witsand. Their shop has been revamped and is looking great - go and see for yourself!

Certificate of Fitness


All boats are required to be surveyed annually by an accredited SAMSA surveyor. Here is a list of local surveyors where you can get your COF renewed:

INTERNALLY APPOINTED SAMSA SURVEYORS:

Mosselbay

  • Paul Vieira 072 587 2963


EXTERNALLY APPOINTED SAMSA SURVEYORS:

Swellendam

  • Trevor Walters 082 758 0467
  • Kevin Castleman 072 672 8900

Stilbaai

  • Jonathan Taylor 082 849 5063

Witsand

  • Johan de Lange 072 201 3195


Fishing Permits

Fishing permits are only available from a Post Office. We recommend that you purchase your fishing permit before visiting the Breede River as there is often a shortage of forms.

Remember that Post Offices are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. If you intend to collect bait or fish from a vessel you are required to tick the relevant boxes.

 

SWELLENDAM:

Swellendam Post Office

Phone: 028 514 1220

Open: Mon – Fri 08:00 – 16:30, Sat 08:00 – 12:00

WITSAND:

The Sands Supermarket

Phone: 028 537 1800

Open: Mon – Sun 07:30 – 16:30

HEIDELBERG:

Heidelberg Post Office

Phone: 028 722 1931

Open: Mon – Fri 08:00 – 16:30, Sat 08:00 – 12:00

Support us - Buy a Conservancy Cap

For just R200, you can be a proud ambassador of the Lower Breede River Conservancy Trust. Our embroidered peak caps are durable and come in a variety of colours, namely green, sand, charcoal and grey.


If you would like to order one or more caps, please send an email to info@breede-river.org


Are you measuring your catch?

Come and visit our office in Witsand to pick up a free fish measuring sticker for your boat! Thank you very much to Tucker's Tackle for sponsoring these great conservation tools to ensure that your fish catch exceeds its minimum required length. If you are interested but reside on the west bank, give us a call on 028 537 1296 / 064 774 3862 and we will arrange to make one available for you.


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