Saturday is World Oceans Day, but coastal communities face rapidly depleting marine resources.

WWF-SA has launched a project in Kogelberg to help small-scale fishers. The fishers deploy baited underwater video cameras. It will give them a better understanding of ocean conservation.

The Baited Remote Underwater Video consists of a video camera and a container with chopped fish. The rigs are lowered at set GPS points in and outside the Marine protection area and then an hour to record activity.

Fisherman Nickey Jansen says that will help them have a better understanding of marine life.

“Now, we can get a better idea of marine life. What really happens under the water; if there is growth and can marine life increase? So it helps us a lot!”

In the past, fishermen did not always see the necessity of Marine Protected Areas.

WWF-SA Marine Programme Senior Manager, Craig Smith says the fishermen will get to see first-hand that protected areas have bigger fish.

“They get to see firsthand that in protected areas there’s bigger fish; there is a lot more diversity and all that bodes well for them as fishers, because those protected areas provide a spillover effect in the areas that they are ultimately depended on.”

Angelo Jansen has been trained to analyse the video material. He will put the data on an online system, which is verified by scientists from the Shark Conservancy.

By experiencing firsthand the value of protecting marine resources, these local fishermen are now playing their part in conserving this valuable resource.