Fighting for reef fishes
After a successful day of field work, we begin the bouncy journey home. I look towards Paulsberg and wonder where the line fishermen were today. False Bay’s reef fishes are lucky to have Lauren on their side, but this is not a fight for conservationists on their own. Her project is part of a larger, complex and highly fraught situation. As we crawl westwards, my somber reflections are interrupted by an excited squeal. She is looking through some of the images we collected today and is very pleased with the results. Since she started working in False Bay three years ago, she has used her BRUV footage to cultivate public interest about a world that would otherwise remain hidden beneath the surface. While these images are very useful for collecting data on marine life, their conservation value will prove even higher if they are able to inspire sustainable thinking among the bay’s human population.
Finally, we reach False Bay yacht club and after a long day on a rough ocean, Lauren’s positivity is refreshing. ‘My personal experience is that the interest and concern in False Bay is higher than I had expected and that’s very heartening,’ she smiles.
The bay may be a sad example of how people have failed the natural environment on which they depend, but if conservationists like Lauren can foster cooperation between the right players, perhaps it could become a blueprint for how things can be done better in the future.