The big maritime news of the week is Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), being taken to court by Judith Sole, leader of the Green Party of South Africa. The minister is being taken to court in a bid by Sole to have the fishing of West Coast lobster halted immediately in order to allow a period of recuperation.
Although chief executive of Feike and marine lawyer Shaheen Moolla has offered to assist, the two have not been able to come to an agreement, and Sole will, therefore, be fighting the case alone.
Moolla has stated that although he believes that Sole’s intentions are honourable, she will have little success as she is seeking to force the minister to stop commercial lobster trap fishing and this action would have an effect on more than just the minister herself, but on many other parties.
The rule of court is that if a party is seeking to ‘impugn the interests of any party you are obliged to serve the papers on all the interested parties.’ There are 1240 quota right holders and all 1240 would, therefore, each have to be served.
On Sunday the British tall ship, Lord Nelson, docked at the V&A Waterfront. This newsworthy vessel is embarking on a two-year around the world challenge and for the first time both able bodied and disabled individuals from around the world will be allowed aboard. Quadriplegic, Russell Vollmer, an experienced sea traveller and member of the QuadPara Association of SA, is one of nine South Africans aboard.
Over the two year period, the ship will cover over 80,000km, visit seven different continents, as well as over 30 countries.
On the environmental front, it was reported in the Cape Times this week that Leon Bekker, who caught a great white shark off Mossel Bay in March 2011, has become the first man to be convicted of killing one of these protected maritime creatures.
The killing of great white sharks was outlawed in 1991, but it has taken 22 years to finally get a conviction. Bekker was sentenced to one year in prison or a R120,000 fine.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman, Lionel Adendorf welcomed the sentence saying that he believes that it will serve as a deterrent to similar maritime crimes.