Posted by: Natalie Janse | September 18, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 18 September 2015

The big news in the press this week is the release of the WWF Living Blue Planet Report which paints a very bleak picture for the future of ocean ecosystems in South Africa and worldwide.

The report is released every two years, providing a picture of the current state of the oceans globally.

According to Marco Lambertini, WWF director-general, the report illustrates how humanity is “collectively mismanaging the ocean to the brink of collapse.”

The two main issues highlighted by the report are the irreversible damage done within a single generation by fishing faster than the fish are able to reproduce and the careless destruction of fish nurseries such as estuaries, seagrass meadows, mangroves and corals.

In the last 40 years, global marine populations have dropped by more than half. Even more shockingly deep-sea fish populations in the North Atlantic have dropped by an unprecedented 72 percent.

Other findings of the report include:

  • More than 5 trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans
  • Toxic waste from industries continues to enter the marine system
  • A rapid increase in coastal tourism has resulted in marine habitat destruction
  • Cruise ships generate 795,000 litres of sewerage each week which is often illegally dumped
  • Mangroves essential for fish nurseries are being destroyed
  • Fish subsidies worth $14 billion encourage over fishing on a global scale

In response to this, nearly three billion people worldwide rely on fish as a major food source and our oceans generate approximately $2.5 trillion annually in economic benefits.

Only 3.4 percent of the ocean is protected at this point in time.

According to Lambertini the ongoing mismanagement of our oceans in light of these facts is “simply unacceptable.”

Posted by: Natalie Janse | September 11, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 11 September 2015

The SA Navy’s SAS Umhloti has a new commander.  The press has reported that Lieutenant-Commander Zimasa Mabela took command of the mine counter measures vessel in Simon’s Town this week and is the first black African woman to command a navy vessel.

Commander Brian Short, former commander of the vessel handed over command to Mabela in a ceremony also held in Simon’s Town this week.

Mabela was born in the Eastern Cape and joined the navy in 1999.  In 2004 she completed the Military Training for Officers, followed by the Combat Officer qualifying course and she joined the SAS Isandwana in 2005.

“I remember how excited I was when I first got accepted to be part of the navy.  I am proud to be the first black African woman to command a naval vessel.  But more than the title, I want to be an example to my crew. I want to be judged on my ability to command, and not my gender,” said Mabela.

The press has reported on another whale rescue mission which took place off Cape Point this week.

The SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was called to the scene and found that the whale has become entangled in four ropes apparently anchored to traps on the seabed.

After a long struggle the team, along with the assistance of the fishing vessel Puffin which came to assist, the whale was freed.

Mike Meyer, of the Department of Environmental Affairs said, “The whale appeared healthy and swam away strongly and we are confident that this operation has been a huge success.”

This is the third whale to be caught in octopus traps in False Bay.

Nan Rice, head of the Dolphin Action and Protection Group and a founder member of the SAWDN said, “We will have to sit down and talk about this. There are going to be more entanglements because there are more whales around, especially humpbacks, which breed every second year.”

It is estimated that an average of 308,000 whales and dolphins are killed each year when they become entangled in fishing gear or marine waste.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | August 28, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 28 August 2015

Exciting news for the local fishermen of Lamberts Bay as they will soon have the opportunity to become owners of a new crayfish processing factory in the area.

According to the press, local businessman, Gerrit Burger, has purchased an unused factory in the area and is in the process of fitting it with the necessary equipment to process crayfish on site.

As soon as the new crayfish quotas are announced in February, quota holders will be given the opportunity to apply for free shares in the fish factory.

Burger, owner of Delevex 279, realised that all locally caught crayfish in Lambert’s Bay was being transported to St Helena Bay for processing. This meant that the only income for local fishermen came from the sale of the crayfish to the St Helena factories. Why could the fish not be processed locally, thereby offering fishermen the chance to make a further profit from the processed fish and at the same time create new job opportunities in the area?

Burger is hoping to have the factory open later this year for a trial period, but the process of shareholding will only take place in the new year, once the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has settled the new quotas.

NASA research has revealed that ocean levels have risen a massive 22cm in some areas since 1992.

The press has reported the findings which state that continued global warming and the accelerated melting of the ice caps is responsible for the rise in water levels, and oceans will be facing  an unavoidable rise of up to 1 metre in the future.

The information is gathered by NASA scientists based on satellite measurements over a 23 year period.

Steve Nerem from the University of Colorado in the USA said, “Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms, it is pretty certain that we are locked into at least three feet (91cm) of sea level rise, and probably more.  But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

The NSRI has been called to action again this week with the press reporting on an incident that took place earlier in the week in Richard’s Bay.  The NSRI were called out to rescue a couple and their dog after their yacht sank shortly after launching from the Zululand Yacht Club.

A tow-line was attached in an attempt to tow the yacht towards Durban, but the vessel began taking on water and started to sink.

The couple and their dog were rescued.

Posted by: Natalie Janse | August 21, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 21 August 2015

This week’s marine-related press reports focused on the make-up of the Fisheries Minster’s advisory panel which consists of Julian Smith, Mamakhe Mdhluli and Shaheen Moolla.


Lya Louw, founder of the Meermin Visserye CC in Lamberts Bay has voiced her concern about Moolla, of Feike Natural Resource Management Advisers, being on the Ministerial Appeals Advisory Panel which deals with appeals arising out of the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP).

She feels that Moolla will not be able to remain unbiased as his family has interests in the fishing industry.  In 2012 Moolla was associated with the fishing company Meermin who approached him for assistance in the management of a 15-year fishing quota.  Moolla was Meermin’s legal representative for the sale agreement and Louw feels that the fact that Moolla’s wife was one of the respondents represents a clear conflict of interest.

Moolla has responded by saying that in the Meermin transaction, he merely served as a legal adviser and prepared the agreements and related documents.

“There is nothing that prevents my family from investing in the fishing industry as it is a sector we understand and know,” said Moolla.

Steve Galane, spokesman for Minister Senzeni Zokwana, said that Moolla had been appointed because of his knowledge  and experience in the fishing sector.

Galane added, “The Minister is happy with the work of the Appeals Advisory Team that has started working on the appeals.  Minister Zokwana would like to see this process coming to finalisation.”



Posted by: Natalie Janse | August 18, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 14 August 2015

An investigation implicating nine international shipping companies has made headlines this week. The Competition Commission investigation has implicated the nine international shipping companies in the prohibited practices of price fixing, market division and collusive tendering for the transportation of vehicles, equipment and machinery by sea to and from South Africa.

It is alleged that the companies involved agreed to fix prices, divide markets and collude on tenders.

The fact that there are a number of respondents to the investigation and that the entities involved are large entities, mostly not residing in South Africa, has only added to the complexity of the investigation.

Anthony Ndzabandzaba, part of the commission’s investigation team, said,”The commission is still proceeding with its investigations in respect of some of the firms that have not shown any willingness to settle.”

It would seem that perlemoen poaching is no longer a silent crime carried out under the cover of darkness.

According to the press this week, holiday makers in Franskraal were shocked to see approximately 30 poachers blatantly searching for abalone along the beach in broad daylight.

Fatima Savel of the Department of Fisheries was quoted as saying that once the department had been made aware of the illegal activities along the beach, officials had immediately visited the site, but the poachers had long gone.

However, people who were on the beach at the time of the incident said that two fisheries department officials, as well as police in the area, had driven passed the scene, but had done nothing.

Similar incidents have been reported at Gansbaai, Onrus and Kleinbaai.

Police spokesman Lt Col Andre Traut said that there were laws against poaching and that the police had a responsibility to act and detain these criminals.

Posted by: Colleen Jacka | August 10, 2015

Access denied: flirting with the maritime economy?

There’s a general movement that is gaining traction in the maritime sectors that aims to boost the industry’s contribution to job creation and the GDP. The Blue Economy is on everyone’s lips and national, regional, continental and even international strategies are being developed to see our oceans contribute meaningfully to our human desire to produce and prosper.

With so much attention it should, therefore, not be surprising to see a whole new set of eyes flirting with the possibility of developing a long term relationship with the ocean sector. It’s time to give them a dance ticket and allow them onto the dance floor.

At the South African Maritime Industry Conference (SAMIC) organised some three years ago by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), there were people from every sector and plenty who saw themselves as merely standing on the side line hoping for an opportunity to show their moves.

Paul Maclons, Managing Director of Smit Amandla Marine, was unequivocal in his statement during one of the panel discussions at the conference: that the solution for a full and inclusive dance floor was not in promoting the practice of cutting in on existing dancers – but rather on extending the party and mixing it up from the DJ’s box. Well, okay Paul did not mention anything about dancing or DJ’s, but his message was clear – we need to expand the industry to accommodate newcomers.

The truth is though that the industry is expanding and there are more opportunities, but equally the economic reality of a capital-intensive international industry is seeing more consolidation and joint ventures as existing companies seek relationships with other established partners that can offer them the opportunity to extend their own dance cards.

Does that mean that there is no opportunity for newcomers? Are they destined always to be wallflowers?

The quick answer to that has to be NO! There are some newcomers to the industry aiming to show off their signature moves on the dance floor. Our job is not to stop mid beat and point or jeer. Our job is to make sure that there is space for them even if their rhythm is a little different to ours. Our job is to learn a little from the new beat.

This year’s SAMSA Maritime Industry Awards aims to recognise the new dancers on our floor. If you’ve recently launched or know of a company that has launched into our space – please take the time to nominate. It takes courage to start something in any industry and especially into one so entrusted to the “old guard”.  


Posted by: Natalie Janse | August 7, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 7 August 2015

Free diving is a sport of which I have very little knowledge, but as tributes begin to pour in for the missing Russian free diver Natalia Molchanova, it is clear that it is an extremely dangerous pursuit, enjoyed by like minded spirits with a great sense of discipline and a great love of the ocean. 

 The press has twice this week mentioned the 53-year old Molchanova, who went missing after free diving off the coast of Spain earlier this week.  She was not competing, but simply enjoying her passion for the sport with friends and family. 

 After her usual breathing exercises she entered the water, diving to a depth of between 30 and 40 metres and simply never resurfaced.  Searches, involving both helicopters and submarines are under way, but Mochanova is presumed dead. 

 Despite being known as the Russian Machine, the 23-time world champion, who had successfully dived to depths of 71 metres, also had a softer side.  She wrote poetry and loved children and animals.

Kimmo Lahtinen, president of the international free-diving federation, Aida said, “She was a free-diving superstar, and we all thought nothing could harm her. Nothing could happen to her, but we are playing with the ocean, and when you play with the ocean, you know who is the strongest one.”





Posted by: Colleen Jacka | August 4, 2015

What is a Maritime Maestro?

Maritime Maestros have salt in their veins. They are committed to the industry in a way that goes beyond the scope of a 9 to 5 job description. They give passionately and devote their energies to develop the future of the industry as a whole. They lead the industry and often pioneer new paths – they are Maritime Maestros.

Two years ago we recognised Okke Grapow as a Maritime Maestro at the 2012/13 SAMSA Maritime Industry Awards. He was living out his maritime family heritage that had been passed down to him from his father and subsequently onto his own children. His dedication to offer himself beyond the confines of a 9 to 5 servant to the industry certainly benefitted the development of the South African maritime industry – and today he continues to inspire others.

This year we are once again appealing to the industry to get out of their comfort zones and to start to recognise the impact that their peers, colleagues and even competitors are making in the industry. Nominations are open for the 2014/15 SAMSA Maritime Industry Awards. Read more about the various categories and start nominating today!


Posted by: Natalie Janse | August 3, 2015

Weekly Press Review – 31 July 2015

Rescuers have freed another trapped whale according to the press this week.  The incident occurred about 100 metres offshore of Sunny Cove in Fish Hoek.  The 8 metre long humpback whale was freed after it became anchored to the sea bed by Whelk trap lines.

The whale was spotted by a local resident whilst he was out jogging.  The South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was called to the scene and the rescue operation carried on late into the night.  Due to the severity and desperation of the operation, the SA Navy were also on standby to assist.

Due to the way the whale was trapped only its’ head was able to reach the surface for air.  Network spokesman Craig Lambinon said, “The line was anchored to the sea bed between the Whelk traps and had snarled around the tail, effectively meaning that the whale’s tail was trapped underwater.”

With the whale rapidly tiring it was a race against time, but the whale was eventually freed.

A thirteen year old girl has made the headlines this week by running her own aquaculture and aquaponics business in Johannesburg.  Rikalize Reinecke says it all started when she watched the movie “Dolphin Tale”.  She says it inspired her to want to be a marine biologist.

“I started doing research and this one page just popped up of an aquaculture farm in America,” she says.

After nagging her father for weeks and weeks he eventually agreed to assist her, but only if she managed to get a qualification.  He believed this would be enough of a deterrent.

His determined young daughter did not give up and completed a week long course at Aquaculture Innovations in Grahamstown and the rest, as they say, is history.

Reinecke’s aquaculture farm is expanding.  She want s to invest in steam boilers and solar power to allow her project to go completely off the grid.  Demand for her products is so great that she will soon be erecting 10 new dams that have already been donated to her project, and she has not given up on her dream of becoming a marine biologist one day…

Posted by: Colleen Jacka | July 24, 2015

Missing out on a celebration

Not much hype seems to have been generated around the official start of the African Maritime Decade which is due to kick off tomorrow. The only nod in this direction seems to be happening at the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa where a “two-day” meeting got underway today.

Today’s schedule in Ethiopia was to include a meeting of the AU Strategic Task Force on the 2050 AIM-Strategy. What should have been an ideal platform to review and debate the strategy, however, was cancelled at the beginning of July.

The schedule for the day therefore now only starts at 5pm and includes a panel discussion followed by an official dinner at 7:30pm.

Tomorrow will see the official launch of the Decade of Africa Seas and Oceans and the Celebration of the African Day of Seas and Oceans – essentially wrapping up an event that has sought to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders from across the continent by 1:30 pm tomorrow.

On a country-by-country basis nothing seems to be planned.

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