Issue 50

February 2024

Pied Kingfishers- ©Jason Oxley

Bar-tailed Godwits - ©Jason Oxley

Buy a 2024 Conservancy Calendar

Calendars are available for R150. Click on the image above to preview the full calendar. All calendars are printed on high quality glossy paper, A4-sized and wire-bound. Please contact info@breede-river.org or 064 774 3862 to place an order.

Are you a member of the LBRCT?

If you take an active interest in, or use the Breede River Estuary, we encourage you to become a member of the LBRCT and support our worthwhile endeavours on your behalf by way of contributing to these efforts. Memberships are due for renewal from the 1st of July 2024.

Buy your Recreational Fishing Permit online:

We are pleased to announce that Recreational Fishing Permits are available online! Please visit https://www.fishing.dffe.gov.za/ to purchase your permit.

Please remember that should you intend fishing from a vessel, at least one crew member requires the permit condition for an "additional fee per vessel for recreational fishing from such vessel" to be selected.

Buy a Conservancy Cap

Legal Size Red Flags for Water Sports

As per the municipal by-law, the operator of a boat towing a skier must display a red flag measuring a minimum of 500mm by 500mm to indicate any of the following conditions:

(a) a skier down in the water, or preparing to ski;

(b) a tow line extended from the boat;

(c) a ski in the water in the vicinity of the boat.


To purchase a legal size LBRCT red flag for only R130 please contact info@breede-river.org or WhatsApp 064 774 3862 to place an order.

Breede River Locations Map

Click here to view a map of the Breede River Estuary containing the locations of popular spots, attractions, restaurants & pubs, accommodation, boat licence sales outlets, public slipways, and more!

This large trawler net was removed from the Groenpunt salt marsh.

A 'Birds of the Breede Estuary' sign has been installed at the end of Marine drive in Witsand.

Conservation of Marine Living Resources

It is our responsibility to ensure sustainable utilisation of the Breede River Estuary. This includes enforcing the Marine Living Resource Act (MLRA) which governs the conservation of marine resources. Our Fishery Control Officers have been kept busy during the summer fishing season, inspecting hundreds of anglers and bait collectors and occasionally issuing a warning or fine. Please report any illegal fishing activity to 064 774 3862.

Use of Safety Buoys on the Breede River

As per the Municipal River Management by-law, no person is permitted to place any obstructions on the surface of the river without permission from the local Municipalities.

The photograph above shows a water pipe secured by several buoys linked together, stretching approximately 50 metres into the river. This constitutes a boating hazard and has since been removed by the property owner.


High visibility buoys should only be used to mark hazards in the water channel, such as sand banks and tree stumps. The photograph alongside is an example of a tree stump marked in Diepkloof during February.

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.

Why the health of Breede River Estuary is important for Spotted Grunters

Spotted Grunters (Pomadasys commersonnii) are a common game fish in the Breede Estuary that is often seen in the shallows with its tail waving above the water as it blows small creatures out of holes in mud and sand. These fish get their name from their appearance and the grunting noise they produce when grinding their strong jaws together.


Spotted Grunters utilise both sea and estuaries during their life cycle, and like most estuary-dependent fish, they move to the sea for spawning – the reproductive process whereby females release eggs for males to fertilise. Spawning is triggered by several environmental factors such as seasonal shifts in temperature or weather events. Lunar phases and day length also play a role. In South Africa, P. commersonnii is known to spawn along the east coast (KwaZulu-Natal Province), however, recent evidence suggests that this species also spawns along the southwest coast in the Western Cape Province.


As a result of Spotted Grunters being heavily targeted by recreational anglers and small-scale fishers, the species has been listed as Vulnerable in the South African National Biodiversity Assessment (2018) and is therefore in need of improved management. However, to improve conservation practises it is essential to understand the ecology of the species, including what drives their movements and tendency to return to the same place.


A recent study conducted by local fish scientist JD Filmalter et al. (2023) investigated this using acoustic telemetry to track Spotted Grunters across the Southern Cape. Seven adults, all measuring over 40 cm in length, were tagged with acoustic transmitters in the Breede Estuary and monitored between November 2016 and March 2020. Fish were captured using rod and line, and once captured were placed in a water-filled sling with the ventral side of the fish facing upwards, ensuring the head remained submerged to facilitate respiration. An acoustic transmitter was surgically implanted into the body cavity of each fish through an incision posterior to the pelvic girdle. A network of receivers were placed throughout the Breede Estuary and adjacent marine environment outside the mouth. Over the course of the study period (2016-2020) fish movements were monitored using the data generated by each receiver every time a tagged fish would pass by.

Map showing the location of the Breede Estuary and the positions of the acoustic receivers in the estuary and adjacent marine environment used to monitor movements of tagged Pomadasys commersonnii between November 2016 and March 2020.

The results of this study showed that all acoustically tagged fish spent more time in the Breede Estuary (82.6%) than at sea. However, all fish undertook trips to sea at some point during the study period, with the majority of their trips to sea lasting less than five days. These trips mostly took place during the summer season, which coincides with the peak spawning season. It was also confirmed that increases in estuary water temperatures in summer and river inflow in winter influence the movements of these fish between estuary and sea.


These findings supported that regional spawning is taking place on the southwest coast due to the Breede Estuary’s population exhibiting a high degree of residency. Thus, due to east and southwest coast populations being genetically isolated, management strategies are needed along both coasts to protect Spotted Grunters, especially during summer months for the recovery of this species. This study also highlighted the importance of the Breede River Estuary and the crucial role that it plays in supporting biodiversity.

[BA Ziko, TS Murray, TF Næsje, JD Filmalter & PD Cowley (2023): Acoustic telemetry reveals the drivers behind estuary–sea connectivity of an important estuarine-dependent fishery species, Pomadasys commersonnii, in the Breede Estuary, South Africa, African Journal of Marine Science, 45:3, 201-213.]

SAMSA Incident Report Form

The South African Maritime Safety Authority requests any vessel -

a) which has been lost, abandoned or stranded; or

b) which has been seriously damaged or has caused serious damage to any vessel; or

c) on which any casualty resulting in loss of life or serious injury to any person or an accident has occurred; or

d) which has been in a position of great peril either from the action of some other ship or for any other reason to use this form for reporting the circumstances within 24 hours to the nearest SAMSA office.

Have you renewed your Municipal Boat Licence?

Boat licences need to be renewed annually from July. 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 annual licences are valid from the 1st of July 2023 until the 30th of June 2024.

Please note: Commercial licences are required for vessels used in commercial operations, such as chartering, rentals and houseboats. Please apply in writing to info@breede-river.org

Where do the boat licence fees go?

Boat licence fees contribute directly towards our efforts to protect the Breede River Estuary. In this way, the user pays for the use of the estuary while at the same promoting safety and compliance with the by-laws and marine regulations that conserve our environment.

Drone Regulations in the Overberg and Eden Districts

FLYING DRONES IN WITSAND, INFANTA & MALGAS IS ILLEGAL

(unless you are a licensed pilot with permission from the CAA and the SAAF)

The FAR147 Overberg Restricted Airspace area is shown with green borders in the image above. It extends from De Kelders in the west to Gouritzmond in the east and includes all the coastal towns in between. It also extends inland and includes towns such as Bredasdorp.


Hobbyist drone pilots may not fly in Restricted Airspace without exception.


RPL license holders with a valid ROC may only fly in Restricted Airspace with specific permission in writing from the CAA and must also get permission from the Military ATC at Overberg Airforce Base beforehand.

DRONES fishing IS ILLEGAL

Devices such as, but not limited to, bait-carrying drones, bait-carrying remote-controlled boats and bait canons, as well as motorised electric reels are used by recreational anglers to illegally catch fish as well as sharks. These devices are prohibited for use of angling in terms of the Regulations promulgated in terms if the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act No. 18 of 1998) ("MLRA").

In terms of the Regulations, "angling" means recreational fishing by manually operating a rod, reel and line or one or more separate lines to which no more than ten hooks are attached per line.


Therefore, it is clear that angling is limited both from the shore and from vessels, to fishing by manually operating a rod, reel and line.

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