1970 the present secretary was instrumental in bringing about legislation
to protect dolphins from killing, capture and harassment in what was then
the Cape Province. Under the 1973 SEA FISHERIES ACT, this protection was
extended to SWA (now Namibia) and under the 1998 MARINE LIVING RESOURCES ACT (Act
No. 18 of 1998) was ammended, taking into consideration recommendations made by
1978 the group's secretary began to co-operate with investigations into
'pirate' whaling (or regulations outside of the International Whaling Commission).
She gave investigators valuable information, critical to bringing this shameful
operation to an end. This information was subsequently incorporated into reports
submitted to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the United States
In 1979 the Group launched the SAVE THE WHALES campaign in the RSA
and under the umbrella of this campaign approached the government in the same
year with substansive evidence that whales should receive protection in South
African waters from killing, disturbance and harassment. On 5 December 1980 regulations
were promulgated, but the whales were only protected in their breeding season.
Once again the Group approached the authorities and in 1984 the regulations were
extended to protect the whales all the year round.
launching the SAVE THE WHALES campaign, it took the Group over 20 years
of uphill lobbying to change the government's vote at International Whaling Committee
(IWC) meetings from pro-to anti-whaling. Not only the government, but at that
time most South African citizens were not against commercial whaling. Through
intensive educational programmes, attitudes changed.
Africa's regulations to protect cetaceans are amongst the strictest in the
world. The Group co-operates with the authorities to ensure that the regulations
are properly implemented.
1979 the Group also launched the DOLPHIN WHALE WATCH RSA project. Data
collected from observers enabled officers of the Group to write up several papers
on the movements and behaviour of cetaceans frequenting South African waters,
two of which were published in a reputable scientific journal. The project was
closed in 2005. During the time it was in operation, a mass of data was collected,
which has helped the Group considerably in it's work.
1984 the Group launched the SAVE ANTARCTICA campaign and joined the
international ANTARCTIC & SOUTHERN OCEAN COALITION. For many years serious
campaign work was done to educate the public about Antarctica and the man-made
threats to this continent, as well as investigations into Patagonian toothfish
poaching. As officers of the Group served on the SEA PATROL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE
(SEAPACC) during the 1990s and into 2000, they were able to bring poaching
problems to the attention of the SA Navy and other maritime organisations.
1988 the SAVE OUR SEA LIFE: PREVENT PLASTIC POLLUTION campaign was
launched in South Africa. Since that time this campaign has involved thousands
of South Africans and it was the first time an organisation had tackled the problem
seriously in RSA. This has been one of the most successful campaigns run by the
the umbrella of the foregoing campaign fell the international issue of HIGHSEAS
PELAGIC DRIFTNETTING. The Group worked on this issue for several years, concentrating
it's efforts on the southern Indian and Atlantic oceans.
other things, the Group persuaded the South African government to promulgate anti-driftnetting
regulations in 1989 and persuaded the government of Mauritius to do likewise
in 1991. The United Nations brought about a moratorium on highseas pelagic driftnetting
in 1992, thanks to the input and campaigning of hundreds of scientists and non-governmental
organisations internationally, including the Group.
1991, through the Group's efforts and with the help of certain scientist,
the government agreed to promulgate protection of the Great White Shark.
This was a world first. Namibia followed South Africa's example in 1993 and subsequently
numbers of other countries have done likewise. Protection of this apex predator
has certainly changed attitudes towards sharks, despite unfortunate attacks.
For many years the Group has trained a team of mass stranding volunteers
in the Western Cape area, as well as supplying. Information to the
media and general public. Oceans & Coasts (DEA) have now taken
over the training of volunteers and deal with all mass and single
In 2005, working with officers of what was then Marine &
Coastal Management, the Group helped
form the SOUTH AFRICAN WHALE DISENTANGLEMENT NETWORK. The
Network was launched officially in 2006 and is working well. This
is the Group's, MAIN PROJECT at present (2019), and falls under the SAVE THE WHALES campaign.
past years the Group distributed thousands of educational pamphlets
to the general public and/or schools. However, with the advent of
internet, requests for this information has gradually dried up.
No longer will packs of literature be distributed. Officers
of the Group are quite willing to assist with free information in
a consultancy capacity should anyone need it.
* MARPOL ANNEX V decals as shown above, supplied free on request
to: merchant vessels & fishing vessels (RSA only).