Updates

31.07.2005

11.08.2005

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION ! !!!

 

ANOTHER YOUNG SEAL DISCOVERED SHOT IN SOUTH AFRICA

YOUNG SEAL SHOT IN THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF NECK AND LEFT TO SUFFER

 

Less than 4-days after Helen Bamford's article "Plea to ban guns on fishing trips to sea" in the Weekend Argus, another young Cape fur seal bull has been discovered shot. Once again since Sunday, dozens upon dozens of ski-boat snoek fishermen have been leaving Hout Bay for the shoals of snoek running off Hout Bay, and once again protected seals, are the victims.
 
Clearly, even though the Seal Island off Hout Bay, recently became a marine sanctuary and a no fishing zone, the ineffectiveness in providing protection for this species is only too evident.
 
I shudder to think of how many seals are going to be shot during the upcoming Eblo Snoek Derby to be held off Hout Bay from the 6 - 8th August 2005.
 
Seal Alert-SA has sent a letter to Minister Van Schalkwyk requesting an urgent meeting and is still awaiting a reply. The shooting of seals is a criminal offence, yet Marine and Coastal Management not only continues to licence these criminal fisherman, but refuses to ban guns during fishing, or introduce a regulation to this effect. Seal Alert-SA has therefore started an international campaign for "Gun Free Fishing", and has asked the international community to write to our Minister and voice their concern.
 
Over 1 million seals have disappeared in SA waters over the past 30-years, without sound scientific reason. The seal population in the Cape, has shown no growth since first being counted in 1971. Something is clearly killing off these protected seals, and I suspect seal shootings are far more wide spread than the general public realise, and if it is endangering the conservation of seals, then this is against the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
 
With over 2900 licenced fishing skippers, their potential to wreak seal conservation havoc, is immense.
 
I simply cannot understand why the Minister will not ban guns during fishing, and instead allows less than 3000 licenced fishing skippers to hold 42 million South Africans to ransom.
 
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONCERNS TO: MINISTER OF THE DEPARTMENT ENVIRONMENT AFFAIRS AND TOURISM - MARTINUS VAN SCHALKWYK (PERSONAL ASSISTANT) mwillemse@deat.gov.za
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
021-790 8774
 
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Update: 31.07.2005
 
Update/Week 1 - South African Seal Campaign - A call to ban guns during fishing trips to sea.

31st July 2005, it has now been two weeks since I sent a letter to the Minister Van Schalkwyk of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss the illegal and criminal shooting of protected Cape Fur Seals in South African coastal waters, by commercial fisherman licensed by his department. Besides an acknowledgement of my letter, not a word or reply or even a peep, has come from his department.
 
It has now been a week since Helen Bamford's article "plea to ban guns during fishing trips to sea" appeared in the Weekend Argus Newspaper. Across the South African media, silence. No enquires from reporters or any follow up reporting, nothing. Perhaps the South African media thinks there is no real public interest in the fact that fishermen have been shooting innocent seals for decades or perhaps it is the fact, that our cities and towns are so awash with high crime rates and a gun culture, that shooting of a seal is just another accepted way of doing things and life, until this crime affects you.
 
For those of you that don't know me, my name is Francois Hugo and since 1999, I have been protecting, conserving and rescuing Cape Fur Seals at the tip of Africa. At 42, and for the remainder of my life-time, I am only going to call on you to assist these seals with two things. The current campaign to have guns banned that are currently being taken to sea on fishing trips to kill protected seals illegally, and the second to follow later, is to campaign to have seals returned to their largest offshore and most important island, named after them, which has also been declared a world heritage site in 1999, and from which they are currently extinct and banned from.
 
Behind the scenes however, rumour has it, things are hotting up. The press is strangely not very pleased that the worldwide response to this campaign from seal supporters, from Australia, US, Canada, UK, Turkey, Belgium, Holland and China, is blocking up their in-box emails. One reporter even complained to me, that I should not have given out her email address. "I have work to do and these incoming emails are just disrupting my work, they are just the same letter  from different people", she replied. The nerve of this reporter, here she has a breaking public response of concern, and she finds it an annoyance, imagine what an annoyance it is to a seal that has been innocently shot whilst simply trying to survive in his own world, injured or killed for life. Another television program manager has blocked his in-box to anymore incoming Seal Campaign emails, I can only imagine how successful or unsuccessful his career in television news will be with a response like this.
 
THE EVERYDAY REALITY OF COMMERCIAL FISHING
 
  
 
SEAL TRAPPED ON TRAWL NET - BEATEN AND CLUBBED BEFORE CUTTING THE NET AROUND AND DUMPED OVERBOARD DROWNING IN THE PROCESS
 
 
REVENGEFUL ANTICS OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN - CATCHING BABY SEALS DURING A TRAWL - CUT THE NET AROUND THEM STILL ENTANGLED AND DUMPED OVERBOARD. ONE LONE SURVIVOR STRUGGLES TO CARRY THE BURDEN OF HIS FOUR OTHER DEAD SIBLINGS
 
In 2003, Deputy Director Horst Kleinschmidt of Marine and Coastal Management, a department of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism "Some fishers shoot seals, injurying or killing them. We are equally opposed to such conduct. They do this believing that seals consume catches they feel are theirs. Their behaviour is uninformed and demands unequivocal condemnation. If anyone shoots at seals, we will prosecute. We do not condone conduct of this kind and ask people to come forward with evidence of this". In 1973, the Cape Fur Seals became protected under the Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act no.46 and it became a criminal offence to "pursue or shoot at or wilfully disturb, kill or capture a seal. Yet, in 34-years of protection, not a single fisherman has ever been arrested or convicted for killing thousands of innocent seals, instead they have been rewarded.
 
 
Currently before our Cabinet for signature is a New Seal Protection draft document, and in it contains the following, Incidental capture by fisheries (3.1.1.3) - Restrictions will be implemented on the use or carrying of fire-arms, ammunition or explosives abroad fishing vessels, with a view to the control of the illegal shooting of seals at sea. Another Act, is also before Cabinet, the long-term fishing rights of fisherman.
 
In the Constitution of South Africa, no mention is made of guns. However under the Bill of Rights it clearly states, Environment, everyone has the right a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that ii) promote conservation.
 
This South African fishing "gun-free" campaign is a simple one to succeed. I know this, because in 2000, after rejecting applications by both myself and Seashepherd International, to undertake Seal Rescue in South Africa, in an effort to prevent Cape Fur Seals being rescued for the first time in 27-years of becoming a protected species. Marine and Coastal Management simply wrote a regulation, had it signed by parliament and within two weeks, it now became a Criminal Offence to rescue a dying starving seal by feeding it.
 
There is not much that we can do against this 5 billion rand, 30 000 strong fishing industry, that will stop some of these cruel sadist criminal fisherman from inflicting such terrible pain on seals, like overfishing or like drowning them in their nets, or clubbing them to death once hoisted abroad entrapped in netting, or ripping open their jaws with steel gaffs, or impaling them on large steel fish hooks, or discarding or polluting our seas, with loose netting, fishing line or nylon rope, but we can do something about guns, and we can stop guns being taken to sea during licenced fishing trips.
 
This is where you come in. Send this email to everyone you know and take one minute to write to the below list of officials and media, and tell them what you think and want. Show these ignorant, non-caring and selfish individuals, that we care! and the true meaning of Email Spam. Close down their in-box emails, until they understand that nothing is more important than stopping this.  If you do this, then after my conversation with the Advocate Gary Pienaar of Public Protectors Office on Saturday morning, he has promised that if I have not had an official response from the Minister by the 8th of August 2005, I can come in and file an official complaint.
 
Your Wish List :
The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism : Mr Martinus Van Schalkwyk (Personal assistant) mwillemse@deat.gov.za
Minister of Safety and Security : bloemb@saps.org.za ; peternk@saps.org.za
Public Protectors Office : Advocate Gary Pienaar : garyp@pprotect.org or maggpie@mweb.co.za
MCM Legal Representative : Marius Diemont - mdiemont@iafrica.com
Media :  Mnet Carte Blanche - contact@carteblanche.co.za; Editor of ETV NEWS - Andy.Duffy@etv.co.za; Reporter of the Weekend Argus - Helenb@incape.co.za; Letters Editor of the Weekend Argus - wealet@ctn.independent.co.za; Cape Times - ctletters@ctn.independent.co.za; Mail & Guardian - Fiona Mc Cloud - fionm@mg.co.za; truth @sabc.co.za; 50/50 wildlife program - vanderwaltdf@sabc.co.za; Argus - John Yeld - jyeld@ctn.independent.co.za
 
Earle Bingley of the Canadian Voice for Animals, has kindly set-up a web-page, where you can go to see the latest campaign newsletters, you can also view and write a comment to me in the guest book at: http://www.canadianvoiceforanimals.org/SASeals.html.
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
 
 
 
 
Update: 11.08.2005
 
CAMPAIGN TO BAN GUNS AT SEA DURING FISHING - SOUTH AFRICA
 
 
PROTECTED CAPE FUR SEAL RECENTLY SHOT THROUGH THE FACE BY LICENCED MCM FISHERMEN
 
Dated : 11th August 2005.
 
Dear Minister Van Schalkwyk/Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism,
 
I refer to the Seal Alert-SA campaign to have guns banned from sea during commercial fishing trips in South Africa. I can only assume that the reason for you or your office's failure to respond to any of the emails, faxes or letters addressed to you, in concern thereof, that you perhaps view this campaign as one, which comes from a small minority of irrational "bunny huggers".
 
As the Minister, you are in charge of the Environment/Fishing and Tourism portfolios. In the Fishing Industry, if my figures are fairly correct, there are some 30 000 active fishermen and 3000 fishing skippers. This translates into approximately 0.01% of the population. Income from fishing contributes about 0.5% to GDP. Tourism, and particular the sustainable growth of wildlife eco-tourism, I believe contributes about 11% to GDP and over 6 million tourists visit our shores.
 
Laws have been in place, making the shooting of a seal a criminal offence since 1973, not only under the Animal Protection Act, but equally under the specific act of the Seabirds and Seals Protection Act.
 
Clearly therefore as no licenced commercial fisherman has ever been arrested for shooting a seal in the past 34-years or ever, and the widespread shooting of seals illegally has been acknowledge throughout the industry, from MCM scientists, researchers, fishermen and the public. That the only explanation for this failure by your department to up-hold the law. Is that an unlawful policy has developed with favours and turns a "blind-eye" to the 30 000 strong fishermen, who are shooting seals regularly. Perhaps it is even an un-official "cull" to reduce seal numbers in the mistaken belief collapsed fish stocks will increase.
 
Regardless of which, I would therefore like to inform you, of the following;
 
  • The people supporting this Ban on Guns during Fishing, are not whacky "Bunny Huggers", we are all normal members of society who are seeking a civilized society.

  • If numbers are your management style, over 250 people from 22 countries, in the last 24-hours logged into the Campaign Guest Book and aired their comments and support.

  • I trust that you do not propose or expect me to form a "Public Vigilante Force" and go out and effect a private citizen arrest on these illegal fishing criminals.

I personally do not like, having 250 citizens of the world, everyday, all future travelers to this beautiful country, write in, after having seen the barbaric and criminal slaughter of protected Cape Fur Seals. I would rather they become aware of South Africa's great wildlife, for the beauty they possess in the wild, healthy and free.
 
So as of last check, over 537 people have clicked on and seen the horrific Power Point Show on fisherman illegally killing seals from 22 countries, there are over 287 signed comments for you to view - http://www.canadianvoiceforanimals.org/SASealAlert_index.html .
 
Please therefore let me know, when the number of civilized citizens of the world, will deserve your response, a 1000, 30 000 or is it a million, and finally get you to BAN guns at sea during fishing trips.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
021-790 8774
 
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CLOCK IS TICKING - ON SOUTH AFRICAN FUR SEALS - SEND NO DONATIONS - JUST VOTE !
 
 
The Clock is Ticking on the South African Fur Seals Soon, Government will announce 15-year, Fishing Rights to 30 000 Fishermen worth R70 billion
Seal Alert-SA has submitted our Complaint in full to the Public Protectors Office


Now - it's up to you to cast those votes - in the petition

As of 14:43 SA time on the 24th August 2005
763 votes were counted - Do you consider this enough ?

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/Rrancois/petition.html 

Have you placed yours? and Have you forwarded This ?
 
 
For those of you undecided - I will keep sending images like this until you do !
 
 
 
Rounded up to await slaughter - let the terrified clubbing of baby seals begin - let the cows free to bred again for free for next year
 
 
His is counting are YOU ! - A good days fishing in Namibia - Mother's milk wasted in the sand
 
 
Still suckling, still  so young - come here let me rip the fur from your body whilst you squirt your mothers milk
 
Since we began the Alert of Cape Fur Seals in 1999, Seashepherd International and Captain Paul Watson has been there. Six years later, who is the first major Marine Mammal Organization to respond officially, Seashepherd. Perhaps we can all persuade IFAW and it's 2.5 million members, or PETA with it's 750 000 members or even Green Peace to follow with support, not for Seal Alert-SA, but for the Cape Fur Seals at the tip of Africa.
 
Hundreds of thousands of protected Cape Fur Seals are either being shot, clubbed, drowned or are starving to death - this must end !
 
Captain Watson on Francois Hugo of Seal Alert-SA: One of the rarest things among people are those who have forged a bond with another species. It is such people that I admire and respect most for they have shaken loose the bonds of anthropcentrism and they have pierced that mysterious but familiar veil that separates us from the other wondrous species that share this incredible planet with us.

Francois Hugo is one such person whose profound love for the Cape fur seals manifests itself in a raging passion that  fuels both his anger at the injustice done to the seals and his compassion to do all that he can to defend and protect the seals.

Francois is a devoted shepherd to these marvolous creatures and he needs the assistance of every person who can muster up the compassion to support him.

Here is a man who is not asking for anything but for people to join his plea to the government of South Africa to help protect and save his beloved seals.

Thank-you for helping him to help the seals,
 
Captain Paul Watson
 
MESSAGE FROM FRANCOIS HUGO OF SEAL ALERT - SOUTH AFRICA:

Dear all seal supporters from around the world,

A better world, I am trying, I am on my knees, and so are you. What's in front of us ? At the tip of Africa, there are 3000 licenced commercial fishing skippers and 30 000 fishermen, who are illegally killing Cape Fur Seals everyday. In life, and in reality, numbers count, I know you all care deeply about the animals. Our Minister in a democratically elected country, has to consider the needs of the majority, at the moment, it is 30 000 fisherman in one country wanting to kill seals versus 43 letters of support from 14 countries. I cannot go to the Minister, with this. Until I can show, that at least 30 000 people DO NOT WANT SEALS KILLED - I might as well, blow smoke into the air. I look over these millions of years old seals everyday, and I can see that they are hanging onto life by a thin thread. There is nothing between life and death, for them, except you and I. Help them, I mean really help them - please.
 
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
 
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION:

Canadian Voice For Animals has pledged to help Francois in his mission. They have given him space on their website and are facilitating and promoting the petition to save the Cape fur seals.  Below is a message from Earle Bingley of Canadian Voice for Animals.
 
Today, we have launched a Petition on line for the Seals of South Africa:
 
 
The goal of Seal Alert South Africa is to collect 30,000 plus signatures to present to Minister Martinus Van Schalkwyk - Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism to convince him to use his ministerial powers and save the seals. These playful and gentle creatures are under attack by fishermen 24-7-365...They are asking for human help.
 
Please, we are asking you to take ten minutes of your time and read the attached document, which has instruction on how to make this petition work, in order to collect the signatures needed within a three month period.
 
I, and the Seals of South Africa are asking you to donate a small amount of your lives, as theirs depend on you so doing.
 
I thank you; the seals thank you, and one day generations of world citizens will thank you.
 
Sincerely,
Earle Bingley
 
For The Seals
Francois Hugo - Seal Alert-SA
 
 
 
 

 

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