Sunday, 1 March 2009

Whale Watching, A Tough Business

I was watching this week’s instalment of South Africa’s premier investigative journalism program Carte Blanche earlier, whose crew it would appear are highly skilled at hiding tiny little cameras and recording gadgets on clothing parts I can only guess where, this to expose corruption. They have done an excellent job over the years and have continually blown the lid on underhanded dealings by high profile people, their reporters and anchors display tremendous bravery by regularly putting themselves in precarious and dangerous situations.

This week they uncovered a case of bribery within the Marine and Coastal Management, the governing body responsible for the allocation of permits for those who take people whale watching. It featured a gentleman from Port Elizabeth Lloyd Edwards, who claims he has been trying for years to get a permit and essentially as a result of not having it, runs an illegal operation. Suddenly out of the blue he received a phone call from somebody willing to assist him, at a price of course.

The purpose for issuing the permits and the necessity for operators to have them is for ecological reasons and to protect the species from harmful human behaviour, something strongly subscribes to. Our listed whale watching provider Advantage Tours does have the required permit, and when they came onboard, we assured them we wouldn’t sign up operators that don’t. We essentially do not want to do business with those who don’t comply with the standards set out by their respective activities governing body.

I just find incredibly sad that there are operators out there that desperately want to do the right thing and in order to do so, have to be confronted by unscrupulous officials. To have to circumnavigate illegal activity to do something for the sake of being legal, is wrong on so many levels. When one considers the far harsher penalty that bribery carries, it creates the kind of the situation where it’s safer to do the wrong thing, well done to the gentleman from PE for exposing it.

Photo:Taken from the gallery page on

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