I am very pleased to be able to report that we successfully completed all of the 2020 State of the Bay sampling over the period 17-26 April 2020 in spite of the fact that the rest of country was in lockdown during this period. My team and I are very grateful to you, Christo van Wijk, the Mayor, Marius Hermanus, and Municipal Manager, Mr Mettler, at Saldanha Bay Municipality, Pierre Nel and Pat Bopape from the West Coast National Park, Jan Marx, and all others who assisted in making this possible.
Through your leadership, we were able to secure an essential services permit that enabled us to do this work. A large part of the sampling for the State of the Bay programme is normally undertaken in March or April each year to ensure consistency across years and to minimise any impacts that seasonal change may introduce into this long-term data set. We have managed to do this successfully since the programme started in 1999 and am exceptionally pleased to say that we managed to this again this year without any apparent impacts on our team or the citizens of Saldanha and Langebaan. We also managed to complete some of the monitoring work for the DAFF Aquaculture Development Zone at the same time, using a separate permit supplied by DAFF, which ensures that these two data for these two projects are aligned with one another.
Most of our attention during this week was focussed on collecting sediment and macrofauna samples from 36 stations arrayed across Small Bay, Big Bay, Langebaan Lagoon and in Outer Bay, sampling of fish at 16 sites spanning the same areas as well as servicing the thermistor chain mooring in Small Bay (see photos below). Our efforts yielded a catch of more than 41 kg of fish amounting to over 12 000 individuals, most of which were released alive after being counted, weighed and measured. Included in our catches were a good number of juvenile white stumpnose (1 500 individuals, the highest number were have caught in over 5 years) and a juvenile galjoen, which is a new record for our sampling. Somewhat surprisingly we did not record any elf at all, a species that has always been very abundant in our catches in the bay.
Dr Barry Clarke