In September 2019, Cape Research and Diver Development were successful in our application to become the False Bay Mission Blue Hope Spot Champions.
This was a great honor to be acknowledged by Mission Blue, part of the Sylvia Earle Alliance which focuses on conservation efforts of the world’s marine biodiversity hot spots. The really cool part of this mission is not just spreading awareness for the endangered marine life and ecosystems, but one of the key objectives is about engaging and involving the entire community around the designated areas. This means not only the marine scientists and conservationists but eco-tourist operators, small businesses, small scale fisheries, and coastal communities are all to benefit from the mission blue hope spot listing of False Bay.
We were recently asked by Mission Blue to submit our ‘Hope Spot Priority actions’ as to how we intend to contribute towards the conservation of this unique area of natural beauty, biodiversity, and economic value to the wider community. So, we thought we would share them with you guys to!
1 = Marine Research – Our main focus as a marine research center is measuring biodiversity in the area of False Bay and offering our expertise in the field. We are currently running a number of projects investigating things such as, the effectiveness of the Marine Protected Areas along the False Bay Cape peninsula, kelp distribution and endemic shark populations. We aim to publish and contribute our data to the scientific community and other databases for further utilization.
2 = Facilitating Marine Research Training – Cape RADD offer marine science field courses for early career scientists and students to gain hands on module-based training in designing and planning research projects, scientific sampling techniques and analytical skills to benefit them for future employment in the field of marine science and conservation. We use the research projects to train and enhance student understanding and hands on experience in the field alongside experienced marine biologists. The training covers both practical and theoretical course hours. False Bay is known as the ‘Savannah’ of the sea and what better spot could we host early career scientists to experience this incredible place. We hope this contribution allows future scientists to continue protecting these special areas.
3 = Marine conservation awareness to the public – Cape RADD’s marine education program initiatives aim to blur the lines between marine conservation and recreational SCUBA and snorkeling to engage the public in data collection and marine education. Designed for school groups, University groups, and the general public, to get them in the water and teach them observation skills and about the life below the water.
By promoting Citizen Science initiatives and public participation in scientific research, everyone can play a part in collecting data and therefore increase awareness, education and engagement in the monitoring of the coastal waters of False bay.
Cape RADD Slogan ”Stop counting your dives and make your dives count!”
4 = School Marine Education Program – We have designed and written a 1-8 day school marine education and conservation awareness program where local and international school children are exposed to their first experience to the marine world and the natural places of the Cape Peninsula. We teach modules such as basic snorkeling and water competency skills, shark biology and conservation, Endemic species identification workshops and plastic pollution. School kids are given chance to ‘re-wild’ and learn to observe and understand nature alongside teaching professionals and Marine biologists. This boasts False Bay as an area of natural beauty and biodiversity not only in the marine sector but on the mountains as well, giving a holistic approach to wildlife conservation.
5 = Community engagement– We have collaborated with a large network of society and the community throughout our short existence and intend to keep collaborating and networking with the incredible organizations, NGO’s, private companies and individuals who are all working together to make a difference. We try and be as inclusive as we can as we are aware of how important it is to get a full cross section of society involved in the protection and ‘stewardship’ of the area. We host ‘Marine Evenings’ whereby we invite various guest speakers (Scientists, artists, explorers, eco-tourism) to talk about marine subjects to the community about their endeavours and screen documentaries. Keep an eye out for our next event.
6 = Educational Outreach – When given the opportunity, Cape RADD love to go into schools to spread the word about marine conservation and how the ocean is important for everyone. Teaching kids often for the first time about fish and shark species, how plastic and waste are affecting this wildlife and how they can make a difference to help conserve this biodiversity on their doorstep.
7 = Beach and Coastal Cleans – We have organized and collaborated on lots of beach cleans around Cape Town over the last two years. Contributing to awareness and giving talks at the events on biodiversity, marine plastics and how it is affecting the wildlife, and humans. These are great community events. If you want to get involved in this then follow our socials or check out @seathebiggerpicture and @cleansimonstown
8 = Campaigning – Often campaigns are set up and released for signatures to prevent certain by-laws and local legislation, or to create social awareness of injustices occurring in the local area of False Bay, South Africa or at an International level. Cape RADD assist with researching these issues making sure they are legitimate calls to action and spreading the word far and wide.
9 = Social Media – We use Social media as a platform to spread awareness and fun videos and picture to give an insight into our daily work, campaigns, our student development and our research for people interested. We post educational videos and spread and share other organizations great work where we can. This is a great awareness and educational tool. Come and follow us @CapeRADD @Caperadd
10 = Media Production – We have worked on a number of film shoots from Nat Geo to local news and film makers. We contribute our scientific knowledge to the stories being told and assist with in field logistics such as boats, diving, and wildlife searching / tracking. We feel this is one of the most effective ways of spreading awareness and injustices to the wider audience. We have some exciting things in the pipeline so stay tuned for these films! Check out our YouTube channel