Seals in the Hout Bay Harbour may be moved to the Two-Oceans Aquarium as a result of the high number of illegal-feeders. The Department of Environmental Affairs is considering relocating the seals due to the manner in which they are constantly exploited.
National director of oceans and coast enforcement from the Department of Environmental Affairs, Tots Dlulane, told Cape Talk that the department are in talks with the aquarium to find a way to move the animals.
There are reportedly several people at the Hout Bay Harbour who illegally feed seals, then charge tourists to take pictures with them. Residents have reported that these illegal-feeders manage to collect hundreds of rands at a time by exploiting the seals and harassing tourists. Feeding the seals is against the law and is a violation of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act.
According to Dlulani, the department has carried out several operations in the area in an attempt to put an end to the illegal seal feeding. These operations led to the arresting and fining of about eight illegal feeders. While this may be considered a success, he notes that the arrests and fines are relatively pointless for a few reasons. Dlulani claims that after every set of arrests new illegal feeders crop up. Additionally, those people who are feeding the seals are unemployed. While the fine for feeding seals could go up to two million rand, the employment status of these individuals are taken into account when fines are handed out. Thus, fines are relatively small.
As a result Dlulane said: “The best thing would be to remove those seals, then they don’t have seals to feed.”
While there are many illegal seal-feeders, there is one particular feeder who has been there for over a decade. He has been reported multiple times over several years now and authorities have continuously requested that tourists and residents refrain from giving him money or entertaining his antics.
Picture: Facebook / Paula Buni – Seal Island & Shipwreck Cruises