Fishermen and farmers are acutely aware of their dependence on nature and her seasons. People who cast their lines and till the soil have a deep understanding of the meaning of God’s grace because they work so close to the elements.
Late on the last Sunday of November, the village of Kalk Bay on the Cape False Bay coast teemed with people. Friends, family and community members gathered at the harbour amongst the visitors and fish sellers to pray God’s blessing and protection on the Kalk Bay fishing fleet and for a good harvest.
The service was conducted by gathering of religious leaders including representatives from the local Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, the Imam from the little village mosque and a Jewish rabbi. In his brief address, Bishop Geoff Davies emphasized the importance of unity.
“We all worship our creator God who has brought about such a wonderful world,” he said, “it is right and appropriate that we should all be praying together.”
Bishop Davies went on to say, “Praying for safety and a good fishing harvest also means we must be responsible and caring for marine resources. That means not over-exploiting our fish reserves.”
“We must confess that we humans have been extremely irresponsible, over-exploiting our marine resources. Last week I saw a huge trawler in the Cape Town docks. These ships have massive nets and long lines that stretch for kilometres. The large scale fishing industry is mining the oceans producing unwanted ‘by-catch’ which is unbelievably wasteful. Large scale industrial fishing techniques destroy marine eco-systems which maintain the web of life in the oceans – all marine life, including the fish and the birds.”
“But it is not only the large-scale and often foreign fishing vessels doing the damage. It is also the illegal fishing fraternity. Recently 32 fishing boats were seen at work within the False Bay marine reserve. Last week the police reported finding 35 000 abalone (perlemoen) in a house in Caledon. What does that say for future sustainability? What kind of future are we leaving our children?”
“Government must affirm and support the much smaller-scale fishing fleets like the fishing community of Kalk Bay. Here, generations have been fishing for over a century. Hand-line fishing cannot ‘mine’ and scrape all the life from the ocean floor as is being done by the large trawlers with their massive nets. We seek justice and fairness for the Kalk Bay fishing community.”
After the sharing of readings and prayers, the team of leaders blessed the boats and prayed again for the safety of those who go to sea in them.
*This article was shared by the Davies