WORDS BY PHILIPPA EHRLICH
PHOTOS BY JORIS VAN ALPHEN
False Bay is the battleground of two formidable and opposing ocean currents – the Agulhas in the east and the Benguela in the west. Warm and cold swirl together to create a unique ecosystem that hosts a rare combination of fish species. Before the exploitation of False Bay began, a bewildering array of endemic bottom-dwelling reef fishes were present throughout the bay, but today, these populations, making up 25% of the country’s commercial fish stocks, have collapsed. For fishermen this represents a socio-economic crisis. For scientists and conservationists, the protection of these species is a daunting battle.