What was to have been an expense only to have their research vessel’s engines serviced, turned into a huge financial blow for the SA Shark Conservancy (SASC) team.
According to Meaghen McCord, SASC founding director, their vessel, Pistrix, was sent in to have her engines serviced on 13 April.
“Unfortunately we were subsequently informed that the two 30-hp Yamaha engines were stolen off the boat from the servicing agent’s premises.
“As a small non-governmental organisation (NGO), we are unable to cover the cost of theft insurance for the vessel and are now making a plea to the public to assist in a fund-raising campaign Funding4Engines to replace the stolen items.”
The cost of replacement of new (used) engines will be R65 000. Since starting the fund-raising campaign, SASC has received incredible support from the public who have contributed more than R24 000 thus far.
“We cannot thank the donors enough!”
SASC is a local ocean research NGO, situated in the Old Harbour, which uses sharks as icons to raise awareness about the issues facing our oceans today. McCord mentions that they conduct 15 ongoing long-term research projects here in the Walker Bay area – focusing on everything from shark diversity surveys for conservation and management purposes (to date they have tagged over 500 sharks in Walker Bay), to estuarine ecological monitoring in the Klein and Bot Rivers on behalf of CapeNature, the local municipality and the Department of Water Affairs, to baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVs) which remotely assess fish and reef health for national conservation purposes.
“We are also in the process of launching a local underwater acoustic array system, in collaboration with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) and the global Ocean Tracking Network, to remotely track tagged fishes right here in Walker Bay and along the SA coast.
As McCord says, they spend hours at sea and on the estuaries every month, but are now in desperate need of the public’s assistance to get their team back on the water.
“We are, therefore, imploring all who are passionate about ocean conservation to make a donation, as small or as large as you like, to help with replacement costs.”
Donations can be made via several methods, including:
1) an online Funding4Engines campaign on GivenGain (https://www.givengain.com/c/sharkconservancy)
2) by contacting McCord, on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0 028 312 3029.
The SA Shark Conservancy encourages you to contribute, visit the Shark Lab in the Old Harbour and meet their team of scientists, and to spread the word to assist.