Background - Excerpt taken from the Management Plan
The present ecological condition of the Breede River Estuary is classified as “good” and is associated with a Present Status Category of “B”, i.e. largely natural with few modifications (Taljaard 2003). The Estuarine Importance Score for the Breede River Estuary, based on its present state, is considered to be "highly important" (Taljaard 2003). The Intermediate Determination of the Resource Directed Measures for the Breede Estuary (Taljaard 2002) found that the largest factor that contributed to the change in the state of the Breede River Estuary from the Reference Condition to its Present State was the large reduction in river inflow. Therefore, to imporve the Breede River Estuary's ERC from a Category B to a Category A, a large amount of water, already abstracted in the catchment by dams, will have to be re-allocated to the estuary. As it is assumed unlikely that large volumes of water could be re-allocated to the estuary, estuarine specialists have decided to keep the recommended ERC of the Breede River Estuary as Category B (Confidence = 60%)
Other potential threats to the integrity of the Breede River estuary are utilization of marine living resources (e.g through recreational fishing and bait collection), recreational activities (e.g. boating, skiing etc), water pollution, developments, agricultural activites, and invasive alien plants.
According to the Section 34 of the Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act 24 of 2008), estuarine managements plans must be developed for all estuaries in South Africa. The Breede River estuary was selected, as one of six estuaries in the Western and Eastern Cape, for the development of an estuary management plan, as part of a pilot study under the auspices of the C.A.P.E Estuaries Management Programme with funding from the World Bank.