Hydrographic charts covering False Bay and the Cape Peninsula

MPA Permit price increase

I just went to the post office to renew my permit to scuba dive in Marine Protected Areas. Last year this time I paid R79.00 for a permit. Today I paid R85.00, and the lady at the counter said “you’re lucky, babes, because from 1 October 2010 the permit will cost R94.00.”

Fee increases are apparently promulgated via the Government Gazette but even with my advanced Googling skills I can’t find any evidence of it.

Even though the increase only amounts to R9.00 – enough to buy a Steri Stumpie with a bit of change – this is quite a hefty 10.6% percentage increase. Apparently Marine and Coastal Management intend to increase the permit prices dramatically over the next few years.

Underwater Africa’s website has a bit of information on their stance on MPAs, with particular reference to what we should expect from proper Marine Protected Areas: no fishing, no pumping of effluent, no poaching. Has anyone been on a boat launching from Miller’s Point lately, and had to fight their way through snoek fishermen? Hmm?

For those not in the know, you need a permit to dive almost everywhere in South Africa. Consequences for not having one can be severe: if you are requested to produce your ID and permit at a dive site and are unable to do so, your gear can be confiscated, which is an expensive event. We’ve seen the officials checking permits periodically all along the False Bay coast.

You can get these permits at any post office branch. Just walk up to the counter and say you want a “scuba diving permit”. It’s the same form that you fill in to get an angling or crayfishing permit.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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