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Cablegate: South African Environment, Science, and Technology Monthly

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2628/01 3381415
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031415Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6612
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 6333
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 0465
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 8680

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 PRETORIA 002628

DEPT FOR OES/PCI, OES/ENV, AND AF/S
DEPT PASS EPA/OIA,

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV SOCI ETRD SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY MONTHLY
BRIEFINGS, NOVEMBER 2008

PRETORIA 00002628 001.2 OF 007


1. (U) Summary: This is the South African Environment, Science and
Technology Monthly Briefings newsletter, November 2008, Volume 3,
Number 11, prepared by the U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

Topics of the newsletter:

-- US EMBASSY AND UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA INAUGURATE U.S.
SCIENCE READING ROOM

-- IVORY SALES RAISE MILLIONS IN REVENUE

-- GREENPEACE OPENS ITS FIRST OFFICE IN AFRICA

-- DEAT TO MANAGE CDM REGULATORY AUTHORITY

-- WESTERN CAPE OPENS CDM OFFICE

-- KRUGER CROCODILE DEATHS UNDER INVESTIGATION
-- CRADLE OF HUMANKIND THREATENED BY POLLUTION?
-- SKILLS SHORTAGE UNDERMINING SOUTH AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES

-- HUNTER CLAIMS SELF- DEFENSE AFTER KILLING GPS-COLLARED LEOPARD

-- JOBURG ZOO GORILLA SEARCHING FOR A MATE

-- SOUTH AFRICA TO PUBLISH CARBON STORAGE ATLAS BY 2010


-- SAEON AND CSIR JOIN IN COLLABORATIVE GEOGRAPHICAL
INFORMATION SERVICE (COGIS)

-- BABY BOOM AT JOBURG ZOO

-- BIRDLIFE SA SUES TO STOP MINING

-- RECREATIONAL FISHERS AND SCIENTISTS COOPERATE IN
SHARK RESEARCH

-- BLUE FLAG BEACHES ANNOUNCED

-- MONTHLY FACTOID

--------------------------------------------- -----
U.S. Embassy and University of Pretoria Inaugurate
U.S. Science Reading Room
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (U) U.S. Ambassador Eric M. Bost and University of Pretoria (UP)
Vice-Chancellor Professor Calie Pistorius officially opened the new,
U.S.-sponsored Mae Jemison Science Reading Room on November 21,
2008. The Science Reading Room has approximately 3,000 books and
films, and 58 magazine subscriptions with an emphasis on science,
health, technology, the environment and related topics. The reading
room has five computers with internet access, and exhibition space
that will serve as a venue for rotating exhibits, science
experiments and demonstrations. The 50-seat auditorium will be the
site of lectures, presentations and digital video conference
programs with national and international experts. The total cost of
the project is approximately R2.5 million ($250,000).

3. (U) U.S. Ambassador Eric M. Bost noted, "The Mae Jemison U.S.
Science Reading Room is one of the most ambitious long-term
education projects undertaken by the U.S. Mission to South Africa.
It is a significant example of pro-active partnership between the
Embassy and an important South African institution, the University
of Pretoria, in response to the South African government's call for
better science education for underprivileged young people." UP
Mamelodi Campus Director Edwin Smith said the primary beneficiaries
of the Reading Room will be local high school students. These
students will participate in structured and planned programs, as
well as open access to the facility. Smith added that University
students and faculty interested in science will also have access to
the Reading Room and its facilities. He said, "The University
envisages its Math and Science after-school program benefiting from
the facility and resources, as well as its other community
engagement programs needing to utilize the facility and resources."


4. (U) The Reading Room is named after the first woman of color to
go in to space, Dr. Mae Jemison, whose historic flight took place on
September 12, 1992. Dr. Jemison served as a National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut for six years. She is
currently the CEO of BioSentient Corporation, a medical technology
Qcurrently the CEO of BioSentient Corporation, a medical technology
company and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Dorothy Jemison
Foundation for Excellence. Jemison sent a message that was read out
at the opening: "Science and mathematics education must be a

PRETORIA 00002628 002.2 OF 007


priority for all students. Remember, our children are innately
curious, energetic, motivated and enthusiastic and reading is the
key." The Reading Room already has one enthusiastic fan. Grade
Three student Donald Thabang said, "I hope we can come here every
day."

-------------------------------------
Ivory Sales Raise Millions in Revenue
-------------------------------------

5. (U) The South African National Parks (SANParks) auctioned
fifty-one tons of stockpiled elephant ivory on November 6, 2008.
The once-off sale of sixty-three lots of ivory piles, which had been
approved in advance by the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES), raised over $6.7 million at an average
price of $142 per kilogram. Buyers included twelve Chinese and
twenty-two Japanese nationals who purchased the ivory using
brochures depicting the sixty-three ivory lots. (Buyers had been
allowed to view the ivory the day before the sale.) SANParks CEO
Dr. David Mabunda said "a significant amount of the revenue" would
be used to "stamp down on poaching of any kind", with the balance
being used for elephant-related research, general conservation,
buying more land and employing additional rangers. CITES General
Secretary Willem W. Winjnstekers attended the auction as an
observer. A total of one hundred and one tons of ivory was
auctioned off from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe,
generating nearly $15 million in revenues. The International Fund
for Animal Welfare opposed the sale arguing that it would only
encourage poaching.

-------------------------------------------
Greenpeace Opens Its First Office in Africa
-------------------------------------------

6. (U) The international environmental group Greenpeace opened its
first office in Africa, in Johannesburg in mid-November. Greenpeace
Executive Director Amadou Kanoute said the move is their first step
in addressing climate change, deforestation and over-fishing in
Africa. He added that Greenpeace will encourage South Africa to its
ease dependence on coal and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Kanoute said that South Africa should spend its money on the
development of renewable energies infrastructure and energy
efficiency. He criticized ESKOM's plans to expand power output
through nuclear power stations. Greenpeace will open two more
offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal in 2009.
The focus of the South Africa office will be on climate change,
while the focus of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal
offices will be on deforestation and over-fishing, respectively.

---------------------------------------
DEAT to Manage CDM Regulatory Authority
---------------------------------------

7. (U) Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van
Schalkwyk announced that South Africa's Designated National
Authority (DNA), which oversees the registration of Clean
Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in South Africa, could be
transferred from the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) to the
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in the near
future. Van Schalkwyk made the announcement at the launch of South
Africa's second Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) report. National
Business Initiative (NBI) CEO Andre Fourie agreed with this move,
noting "We must streamline the CDM process, because we are
struggling with that, and the bureaucracy is killing us." South
Qstruggling with that, and the bureaucracy is killing us." South
Africa lags behind other developing countries such as China, India
and Brazil in the registration of CDM projects. To date, only
fourteen CDM projects have been registered in South Africa by Sasol,
Omnia, PetroSA, Corobrik, PPC, and the City of Cape Town. South
Africa's first CDM project involved retrofitting 2,000 low cost
homes in Khayelitsha, and was inaugurated in August 2007. Carbon
finance accounted for 30% of the project's capital and the carbon
credits for the first two years were sold to the UK government.
Underlying financing was made available through DEAT.

-----------------------------
Western Cape Opens CDM Office
-----------------------------

8. (U) The Western Cape provincial government has established its
own Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) office, and is planning one of
the largest CDM projects in South Africa -- a public transport
sector project in collaboration with the Italian government worth
approximately $77 million. Western Cape Department of Environmental
Affairs Director Mark Gordon said, "We are busy working out our
carbon baseline now, and we estimate that the value is $76 million."
Strong political support for renewable energy technologies exists

PRETORIA 00002628 003.2 OF 007


in the Western Cape, and the province is moving ahead on plans to
implement renewable energy generation. Gordon said the Western Cape
has set broad targets of 15% renewable energy generation by 2014.
The province also wants to achieve 10% energy efficiency by 2014,
and realize a 10% reduction in carbon emissions. Gordon believes
these targets can easily be met by capitalizing on available wind
power.

9. (U) Gordon noted: "We have also commissioned a grid study with
the German government to look at wind development projects,
primarily on the West Coast, and to look at grid accessibility."
Gordon commented that one major hurdle faced by investors was
environmental impact assessment (EIA) methodology. He said the
Western Cape would provide "some sort of certainty" on EIA
methodology on where to locate wind farms. Gordon noted that the
Western Cape environmental authorities would advise investors about
no-go areas and tell them not to waste their time where no EIAs
would be granted. Gordon said the Western Cape had more than 2,400
megawatts of wind potential.

-------------------------------------------
Kruger Crocodile Deaths under Investigation
-------------------------------------------

10. (U) South African National Parks (SANParks) Head of Science
Service Danie PQnaar announced establishment of a new
multidisciplinary team to investigate the continued deaths of large
numbers of crocodiles in the Olifants River system of the Kruger
National Park. Pienaar stated that the deaths were a "serious and
growing environmental problem," and that scientists remain "baffled"
as to what caused the sudden deaths. Pienaar said: "We suspected
that ongoing pollution of the system would eventually result in some
kind of ecological disaster, but the large number of crocodile
deaths caught us by surprise." Their deaths have been attributed to
pansteatitis, a disease that gradually renders the crocodiles
immobile. Postmortem analysis of the crocodiles found no evidence
that they died from pesticides or heavy metals. Scientists estimate
that more than 300 crocodiles have died since May in the Olifants
River gorge system, a region that hosts a population of between
1,000 - 2,000 crocodiles. Pienaar conceded that systems for
controlling and monitoring environmental damage were inadequate,
commenting that a "top predator collapse indicates prolonged
ecosystem stress, caused by human activities." He worried that
there could be implications for human health since communities along
the river continue to use untreated river water for washing and
drinking.

11. (U) The new multidisciplinary team initiative, entitled the
Consortium for the Restoration of the Olifants Catchment, includes
experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
(CSIR), universities, the Department of Water and Forestry Affairs
(DWAF), the Department for Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT),
the Water Research Commission (WRC) and independent consultants.
The Consortium will investigate the effects of pollution from
industrial, mining and agricultural sources; monitor crocodile
populations with tracking devices; and study how bulk water
structures such as Mozambique's Massingir Dam have affected the
river's health. The Massingir Dam raised its wall height recently,
causing water to back up and deposit fine silt into the Olifants
River.

--------------------------------------------
Q--------------------------------------------
Cradle of Humankind Threatened by Pollution?
--------------------------------------------

12. (U) The Sterkfontein caves, a World Natural Heritage site and
home of Mrs. Ples (a fossilized set of human remains considered to
be 2.15 million years old) and over 700 other fossils dating to the
early Stone Age, could be threatened by acidic mine drainage flowing
into the dolomite karst rock base of the caves. Dolomite karst is
formed by dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone and
dolomite. The water table in the area is rising as the gold mines
in the area cease to operate. One expert estimates that more than
fifteen mega-liters of contaminated water containing heavy metals
has flowed into the Tweelopies Spruit River, through the Krugersdorp
Game Reserve and towards the Sterkfontein caves since mining stopped
in 2002.

13. (U) One local karst expert claims that the accumulation of heavy
metals will destabilize the karst and cause sinkholes. Cradle of
Humankind Environmental Manager Peter Mills agreed that there is a
"huge mine decant problem" that will cost "billions to fix." He
advised that there are monthly meetings between the mines and the
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). Mills stated, "No
one knows how water flows through the system. We don't even know if
the mine decant is reaching the fossil site. Despite the fifteen

PRETORIA 00002628 004.2 OF 007


mega- liters, there is no evidence that it is coming close to the
Sterkfontein caves." DWAF officials noted that a study is being
conducted to determine if the decant is having an impact on the
Cradle of Humankind site.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
Skills shortage Undermining South African Universities
--------------------------------------------- ---------

14. (U) A Sunday Times survey has revealed almost 600 vacant posts
for professors and lecturers in five universities including: the
University of Johannesburg (142 lecturers and 28 associate and full
professors); University of Pretoria (127 posts); University of cape
Town (75 vacant academic posts after 40 resignations this year);
University of Zululand (31 lecturers and 14 professors in law,
science and education); and University of Limpopo (182 vacant
academic positions, including one professor, 5 lecturers, 12
professors in dentistry, 19 in pharmacy, and 5 in accounting). The
University of Witswaterand did not provide information to the survey
commenting that it "worked on the basis of budgets, not posts."
Wits Deputy Vice Chancellor Rob Moore did acknowledge that the
university has had difficulties filling staff in disciplines that
"required highly skilled professionals and academics such as
accounting, actuarial science, science and the humanities."
15. (U) Moore noted that professional sectors compete for a
"proportionately shrinking pool of experienced graduates who are
highly mobile and command a premium." Professors earn from R483,000
($48,300) to R669,000 ($66,900). Some universities add a scarce
skills allowance. UNISA has retained its accounting professors by
allowing them to maintain private practices. North West University
Chancellor Thomas Eloff confirmed that some chartered accounting
professors earn more than R1M per year ($100,000). He said, "You
won't get a chartered account for less. You can only buy half their
time." University of Limpopo Professor Mahlo Mokgalong said Nedbank
was sponsoring an accounting professor with a salary of R1 million
($100,000) and the university will still have to add an additional
R200,000 ($20,000) to attract a candidate to Limpopo. University of
Stellenbosch Engineering Dean Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel said it
was "nearly impossible" to attract senior black engineers to
lecturing posts. University of Free State Dean of Law Professor
Voet du Plessis said suitable staff has not been found despite two
years of advertising.

-----------------------------------------
Hunter Claims Self- Defense after Killing
GPS-Collared Leopard
-----------------------------------------

16. (U) Farmer Tommy Thompson claimed self-defense after killing
"Michael," one of eight Landmark Foundation GPS-collared leopards in
the Eastern Cape Baviaaskloof Mega Reserve. Landmark Foundation
Founder Bob Smuts said they had been tracking Michael for sixteen
months. The Foundation works with local farmers encouraging
non-lethal controls over the wild cat population. The Foundations
pays farmers for losses which are verified as having been caused by
wild cats that the Foundation has collared. Verifications are made
by comparing the claims against data from the GPS in the cats'
collars. Smuts said the Foundation had been unable to download
information from Michael's collar in recent months to determine if
Thompson's losses were caused by the cat. Smuts noted that they had
QThompson's losses were caused by the cat. Smuts noted that they had
been trying to capture the cat when he was shot by Thompson.
Thompson cut off the R35,000 ($3,500) collar and the cat's feet and
ears, and had begun curing the skin. Smuts said that forensic data
indicated the cat had been killed with a sharp object, although
Thompson insists the cat was shot. Thompson claims he was hunting
the leopard with his dogs when it attacked him.

---------------------------------------
Joburg Zoo Gorilla Searching for a Mate
---------------------------------------

17. (U) Johannesburg Zoo's lone gorilla Makolo has been alone in his
enclosure since the zoo's other gorilla Lisa died two years ago.
The zoo has placed an application with the gorilla studbooks of the
European Endangered Special Program (EEP) which matches gorillas in
captivity for a replacement. The zoo is currently twelfth on the
list of global zoos waiting for gorillas. Primate Curator Althea
Guinsberg noted that Makolo is not completely alone. He has
antelope, peacocks, and guinea fowl with him in his enclosure. The
staff spends time with him, feeds him three times a day and does
"enrichment activities" with him. Guinsberg commented that Makolo
"likes to watch Cartoon Network in his night room if the weather is
bad." Guinsberg said that EEP has demanded that the zoo upgrade
Makolo's enclosure before it would approve another gorilla; however,
the zoo does not have the funds. Guinsberg noted that the zoo would
be prepared to take a bachelor group to keep Makolo company.

PRETORIA 00002628 005.2 OF 007


(Saturday Star, Nov 15, 2008)]

--------------------------------------
South Africa to Publish Carbon Storage
Atlas by 2010
--------------------------------------


18. (U) Several carbon-heavy South African companies are supporting
a R2 million ($200,000) initiative to develop a South African Carbon
Dioxide (CO2) Storage Atlas. The project, which is backed by Sasol,
Eskom, PetroSA, Anglo American and the South African National Energy
Research Institute (SANERI), will use existing geological
information to identify potential sites for the possible future
storage of CO2. The atlas will illustrate the distribution and
ranking of potential geological CO2 storage reservoirs in South
Africa, including estimated CO2 storage capacities, the main
emission sources, location of industrial hubs, transportation
pipelines and other factors that may have a bearing on storage
feasibility. The Council for Geoscience and the Petroleum Agency
South Africa plan to publish the initial assessment of storage
potential by April 2010.
19. (U) The South African government has identified carbon capture
and storage (CCS) as a priority technology, given its
carbon-intensive economy. South Africa is one of the world's most
"emissions intensive" economies, emitting about 400 million tons of
CO2 yearly, which is about 1% of total global emissions. SANERI
estimates that about 60%, or 249 million tons, of these emissions
are "sequestrable", with the main challenge being the identification
of suitable storage sites, such as deep saline aquifers. The atlas
is a first step to develop the scientific and human resource
capacity necessary for commercial CCS use. SANERI Senior Manager
for Fossil Fuels Dr Tony Surridge says that the next step would
involve the creation of a Center for Carbon Capture and Storage in
2009 which would implement commercialization of CCS by 2016.
Surridge says that, once the atlas is completed, further seismic
work and drilling programs would be required.
20. (U) Surridge is convinced that South Africa has the geological
capacity to store CO2. He says that preliminary geological studies
have highlighted deep saline aquifers that have the potential to
store between four and eleven times South Africa's annual
sequestrable CO2 emissions for the next 100 years. He thinks the
Karoo Basin holds much promise as do the spent oil and gas
structures offshore of Mossel Bay. Surridge agrees that the
potential to use the CO2 injections to enhance oil or gas recoveries
is low. He believes that the success of CCS will hinge on the
future regulatory and tax regime, with companies such as Eskom and
Sasol likely to pursue the technology either as a way of mitigating
against carbon taxes or as a way of earning carbon credits.

--------------------------------------------- ----
SAEON and CSIR Join in Collaborative Geographical
Information Service (CoGIS)
--------------------------------------------- ----

21. (U) South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) Head
Johan Pauw and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Natural Resources and Environment Operating Unit Executive Director
Khungela Njobe signed an agreement under which CSIR will design a
Collaborative Geographical Information Service (CoGIS) for SAEON.
CoGIS will allow the discovery, retrieval, sharing, and integration
of spatial information sourced from a variety of providers connected
Qof spatial information sourced from a variety of providers connected
via a web-based network. SAEON contributed financially and
conceptually to the development of the system. One of SAEON's core
missions is to generate long-term environmental data to assist
sustainable management of natural resources and habitat. SAEON's
information management coordinator Avinash Chunthapursat said SAEON
is assembling a team of representatives of organizations, including
CSIR, Department of Minerals and Energy, Agricultural Research
Council (ARC), Kruger National Park and the South African Institute
for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB). Pauw noted that South African
ecosystem research has been fragmented; its data not readily
accessible; and not enough variables have been included to cover the
global climate change complexities.

-----------------------
Baby Boom at Joburg Zoo
-----------------------

22. (U) The Joburg zoo's first viable honey badger baby was born
November 6, 2008. There have been other births, but all the cubs
died within one day. The cub's mother, Bedlam, keeps the baby in
her lap and is extremely protective, folding her body over the baby
and becoming aggressive if anyone approaches. Honey badgers only
produce offspring every 16-18 months because the mothers spend
considerable time teaching their cubs skills such as climbing,

PRETORIA 00002628 006.2 OF 007


tunneling and chasing snakes.
Honey badgers are often called the most fearless of all animals.
Even lions and leopards will not attack an adult honey badger.
Johannesburg Zoo Carnivore Manager Dominc Moss says, "Pound for
pound, they don't take any grief from anyone." Their loose skin
makes it difficult for predators to catch them. As Moss notes: "If
you grab them, they just turn in their skin and take your hand off."
The zoo has three adult honey badgers: Bedlam, her QQ;iOkQso given birth to two babies, the Zoo's
first in eight years.

-------------------------------
BirdLife SA Sues to Stop Mining
-------------------------------

23. (U) BirdLife South Africa, supported by the Royal Society for
the Protection of Birds (RSPB) based in the UK, has applied to the
South African High Court for judicial review of a British-South
African company's prospecting rights in the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg
region, an area of wetlands and grassland east of Pretoria.
Wakkerstroom's high altitude grasslands host more than 300 bird
species, and more than 100 plants. Over eighty percent of all
bird-watching trips in South Africa include Wakkerstroom in their
schedules. Conservationists contend that Delta Mining's prospecting
rights are illegal and pose a serious conservation threat. They
warn that extraction of coal from a 200-square kilometer section of
the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg region would destroy habitats, including
those used by South Africa's national bird, the blue crane, which is
listed as "Vulnerable to Extinction" on the

24. (U) International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Red List of Threatened Species. Conservationists believe that four
major rivers with sources in the region could be polluted by mining
operations. RSPB Africa Specialist Paul Buckley said the proposed
mining "is one of the biggest threats to South Africa's wildlife to
emerge for decades." BirdLife SA and RSPB maintain that Delta's
prospecting rights were obtained without proper consultation with
affected landowners, and without adequately taking into
consideration the severe conservation impacts of mining. Delta
Mining was awarded prospecting rights for the Wakkerstroom/Luneburg
area in August and November 2007. The conservationists argue that
the rights were awarded in violation of the National Environmental
Management Act and the Minerals & Petroleum Resources Development
Act, both of which require consultation with interested and affected
parties, which in this case includes landowners and environmental
groups, such as BirdLife South Africa, WWF-South Africa, and the
Ekangala Grasslands Trust.

25. (U) Birdlife SA Policy and Advocacy Division Official Carolyn Ah
Shene stated that, "The Wakkerstroom/Luneburg region is
irreplaceable and a significant area of this important natural
heritage will be destroyed if the mining goes ahead." She added
that the area is "one of South Africa's prize natural possessions,
attracting large numbers of tourists who visit the region to see its
unique landscapes, plants and animals." Delta Mining and the South
African Government's Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) oppose
the application. Delta Mining claims in its Environmental
Qthe application. Delta Mining claims in its Environmental
Management Plan that there are "no threatened species on the site."
Conservationists respond that thirteen of South Africa's bird
species are found only in this grassland region and this area was
designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife South Africa in 2001.


-----------------------------------
Recreational Fishers and Scientists
Cooperate in Shark Research
-----------------------------------

26. (U) Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marine and
Coastal Management (DEAT/MCM) and the West Coast Shore Angling
Association (WCSAA) cooperated in a joint venture on November 8,
2008 to tag as many smoothhound sharks as possible as part of
research into the population of smoothhound sharks in the Langebaan
Lagoon system. This joint venture, officially named the Langebaan
Lagoon Smoothhound Shark Derby 2008, is a tag-and-release tournament
aimed at promoting collaborative opportunities between marine
scientists and fishers to strengthen the sustainable management of
marine resources. The primary recreational catches in the lagoon
are smoothhound shark, white stumpnose, and elf fish. The
tag-and-recapture experiment will help identify the stock size of
these species within the Langebaan/Saldanha Bay area; fishery
managers will use the results to develop sustainable management
fishery plans.

PRETORIA 00002628 007.2 OF 007

27. (U) The tournament will be also be used to introduce the Green
Marine Angling program, an initiative of the South African Shark
Conservancy (SASC), in collaboration with the DEAT/MCM. This
program emphasizes responsible angling and teaches methods to
minimize the effects of poor handling when releasing fish. DEAT/MCM
scientists will participate with anglers and provide assistance with
the tagging. Smoothhound sharks are one of the most frequently
caught species in South Africa, targeted by commercial trawlers,
long-lining operations, line-fishing boats, and shore-based
recreational fishermen. These sharks are abundant in bays with soft
substrate such as Langebaan Lagoon, where they feed on benthic
invertebrates. Sharks are slow growing animals, mature late and
produce small numbers of offspring. These life-history traits make
them vulnerable to over-exploitation.

---------------------------
Blue Flag Beaches Announced
---------------------------

28. (U) South Africa launched the eighth season of Blue Flag Beaches
on November 5, 2008 with thirty-five participating beaches.
Nineteen of the thirty-five received official Blue Flag
accreditation. The Blue Flag program was introduced in November
2001, and has grown significantly since then. The success of the
Blue municipalities to provide beach-goers and tourists with world
class beaches offering safe, clean and well-managed facilities. A
blue flag beach must meet environmental standards, including
maintaining environmental management of the coastline. South Africa
was the first country outside of Europe to implement the Blue Flag
program. Today thirty-eight countries participate with almost 3,500
Blue Flag beaches and marinas around the world.

29. (U) South African beaches that have received 2008-2009 Blue Flag
accreditation include: Margate; Ramsgate main beach; Marina beach,
Southbroom; Hibberdene; Kelly's beach, Port Alfred; Wells Estate,
Port Elizabeth; Humewood beach, Port Elizabeth; King's beach, Port
Elizabeth; Hobie beach, Port Elizabeth; Dolphin beach, Jeffrey's
Bay; Lappiesbaai beach, Stilbaai; Grotto beach, Hermanus; Hawston
beach, Hermanus; Bikini beach, Gordon's Bay; Mnandi Beach, Cape
Town; Clifton 4th, Cape Town; Camps Bay, Cape Town; Muizenberg, Cape
Town; and Strandfontein, Cape Town. Several beaches narrowly missed
achieving Blue Flag status, primarily because of the failure to meet
management challenges such as water sampling. (Blue Flag beaches
are monitored every two weeks to ensure safe, healthy swimming
conditions, some municipalities encounter problems in complying with
the necessity of regular water sampling.)

30. (U) One on-going challenge in South Africa is the need to manage
infrastructure and coastline damage resulting from changing climatic
conditions. Over the past eighteen months, high seas and waves over
10 meters high almost destroyed some Blue Flag beaches. Those
municipalities devoted resources to the rehabilitation of these
beaches and their Blue Flag status was quickly re-established.
South Africa is beginning a Blue Flag Marina program in the near
future, and is in the process of expanding the program into the SADC
countries. South Africa hopes to launch Blue Flag programs in the
Indian Ocean within the next year, especially in Madagascar and
Mauritius.

---------------
Monthly Factoid
---------------


31. (U) Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its
Q31. (U) Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its
73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World in the Florida.

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Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

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Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

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