South African Divers to be required to buy annual permits to dive.

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Posted by on October 15, 2004 at 15:11:06:

by Arjan Van Oosterhout

Scuba divers angry about legislation that will force them to buy annual permits to dive in some of the waters off the Peninsula maintain authorities have ignored their concerns.

They said Marine and Coastal Management had said in August it would meet the divers to listen to their grievances and perhaps have another look at the introduction of permits, but this had not happened.

"Section 43 deals with the fishing industry, but we are not fishermen," said Cleeve Robertson, spokesman for recreational scuba divers.

"We don't take organisms from the sea and are conservation-minded."

Scuba divers had been unfairly targeted in new regulations under the Marine Living Resources Act and were prepared to go to court to fight the introduction of permits.

The MCM said yesterday there was no need for discussions and that scuba divers would need permits, probably from January, to dive at Aliwal Shoal and from Mouille Point to Muizenberg.

Scuba divers used the country's natural resources and had to "pay for the protection of the environment they enjoy", said spokeswoman Carol Moses.

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