The slow death of Durban’s Vetch’s Pier

City of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa - Vetch’s Pier has been destroyed by mountains of sand being dumped on the beachfront by the municipality, says an activist.

DESPITE the long-fought battle by the Save Vetch’s Association to save Vetch’s Beach and Pier, activist Johnny Vassilaros said this week the reef that the group fought ‘tooth and nail’ for is now buried under sand.

Vassilaros said it was sad that the treasured reef, once intended to be the northern breakwater of Durban harbour and the remnants of a disastrous project of the 1860s which had turned out to be a most valuable asset to the city of Durban, had been destroyed by the municipality’s sand pumping scheme.

“Vetch’s Pier provided its inhabitants and visitors a wonderful lifestyle in the form of snorkelling, spearfishing, a safe launch site for so many different recreational water sport activities, as well as becoming the largest inshore sub-tidal mussel bed in the entire province. It was estimated that it hosted 85 tons of mussels alone. I recall days of seeing crayfish, octopus and numerous species of fish in their hundreds, barely five metres from the shore in knee-deep water. This reef is simply the main reason why there are any fish in the entire Vetch’s/Addington area,” he said.

However, he said currently, this valuable asset was dying and even in good weather, only a handful of snorkelers can be seen along the reef.

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