Weekly Press Review – 14 May 2018

The False Bay Shark Spotters have made headlines this week with their appeal to the public to support the organisation’s crowd-funding platform, BackaBuddy.

A large part of the Shark Spotters portfolio is looking for sharks in the water using binoculars. The organisation needs 35 new pairs of binoculars at a cost of R60,000 and so the BackaBuddy campaign was launched. An amount of R34,260 has already been raised.

“Sharks are not easy to spot, unlike whales and dolphins, we rarely see their dorsal fin or other body parts above water, which is why we need increased visibility.

“The binoculars that we have are dated and most are in a state of disrepair. We hope the public will support our BackaBuddy campaign to empower us to keep our waters safe,” said Sarah Waries, chief executive of Shark Spotters.

False bay has the second largest number of white sharks in the world and the largest number of species. The balance between conservation and safety is therefore imperative. For the past 14 years Shark Spotters have been instrumental in finding that balance.

“Conserving large, predatory sharks, which are sometimes in conflict with people, is a major conservation challenge, because fear can stop people from supporting their conservation.

“To ensure the balance between great white shark conservation and public safety it is imperative that we have a strong scientific foundation on white shark ecology, coupled with non-lethal mitigation methods and supported by comprehensive education and awareness strategy,” says Waries.

For more information visit: www.backabuddy.co.za/spotters-binocular-fund

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Weekly Press Review – 7 May 2018

Almost a year after the finalising of a forensic report alleging fraud by several high ranking fisheries officials, these same officials are still in their posts within the department.

According to the press, the report was conducted by forensic specialists The iFirm after a botched state abalone deal in 2016. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana said at the time that legal action was being considered.  The minister himself, however, now faces a report into his own conduct compiled by the National Health Education and Allied Workers Union, alleging nepotism, mismanagement and sexual favours, and calling for his immediate removal; and the officials still remain at the department.

In response Minister Zokwana’s office has said that a team had been set up to address these concerns.

In more positive news a four-year-old environmentalist has made headlines this week after she managed to collect more than 14 cubic metres of recycled plastic over the last month.

Jenny Kenyon from Cape Town is on a campaign to shine a light on the dangers faced by penguins and turtles, as well as the environment, as a result of plastic bags.

Jenny’s crusade began after a visit to the Two Ocean Aquarium where she learnt that a turtle had eaten plastic from the ocean.

“She started out by telling her friends why straws and balloons were harming marine life,” says Jenny’s mother, Kath Kenyon.

Jenny started collecting plastic in March. “ I like collecting plastic so the penguins don’t get sick,” said Jenny.

Surely we can all learn a lesson from a four-year old who is not only capable of understanding the dangers of plastic pollution to our oceans, but is also willing and able to start to do something about it.

Weekly Press Review – 23 April 2018

An investigation has been launched into a collision between a car carrier vessel and an inactive tugboat. According to the press the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has revealed that the incident happened while the ship was berthing alongside the Durban Point Precinct.

No injuries were reported, but the quayside was damaged and the tug sustained a hole on its starboard side, which resulted in the vessel taking on water.

Port operations were not affected by the incident.

The transformation of the country’s maritime industry has received a boost.  According to the press, listed integrated logistics service supplier Grindrod is selling its bunker division, Unicorn Bunker Services, to a women empowerment group and black-owned and managed ship-broking firm.

Russell Burns, the chief executive of Unicorn Bunker Services, said the transaction supported the government’s agenda of transformation and Grindrod was proud to be part of this historic achievement and the process of skills transfer and improving the transformation profile of the South African maritime industry.

According to the press, police in Cape Town arrested two suspects in Ravensmead in more possession of more than 200 lobster tails over the weekend.

World Earth Day 2018 is focusing on the huge volumes of plastic in oceans around the world.  According to the press the United Nation’s Environmental Programme (Unep) estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

“Plastic pollutants are turning up in everything from endangered wildlife municipal water supplies and, we, as users, of plastic must come up with solutions,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network.

UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign aims to address plastic pollution in a global effort, in co-operation with governments, businesses and others.

Weekly Press Review – 16 April 2018

Two South African universities have been selected to form part of an international scientific expedition aiming to explore one of the coldest and most remote locations in the Antarctic for two months.

According to the press the team will comprise of glaciologists, marine geologists, marine biologists, marine biogeochemists, oceanographers and marine archaeologists. The team also comprises members of the UK’s Nekton Foundation and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

The team will be using autonomous underwater vehicles to survey the seafloor below 3,000 metres and study cavities on the underside of the ice shelf.

UCT’s Professor Isabelle Ansorge said, “Participating in the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 will give South African researchers an unprecedented opportunity to investigate and explore one of the most remote and least-studied places on our planet, and to collaborate with international research colleagues across different disciplines.”

Oceana shares fell 0.24 percent on the JSE this week. According to the press this was despite the company reporting that it expected its basic earnings a share for the six months to March to increase by 55 percent and 65 percent.

The company attributed the increase in earnings to the release of $13 million deferred taxation in Daybrook, following the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the US from 35 percent to 21 percent.

According to the press, the H5N8 bird flu virus is threatening the lives of protected African penguins at Boulders beach.   State veterinarian Dr Laura Roberts says that 18 penguins have already succumbed to the disease.

“All possible measures are in place to prevent the spreading of the virus through human interaction. These are wild birds so we cannot control the natural spreading of the virus,” said Dr Roberts.

This week the fate of our plastic infested oceans has once again made headlines with more frightening statistics.

Around 12.2 million tons of plastic enters oceans annually. This plastic is ingested by dozens of species of marine mammals and birds and degrades vital habitats. Million of birds, sea mammals and turtles die each year from ingesting this plastic.  Countering this epidemic of ocean pollution will require big, bold international actions by governments and small, personal actions by citizens. And both need to happen now!

The world’s rarest turtle has been discovered in Vietnam.

According to the press the discovery of a single Yangtze giant soft turtle, living in a lake outside Hanoi, has been confirmed, bring the total number of globally known population for this species to just four.

“This finding brings new hope, with the possibility of bringing wild animals together in a controlled environment for captive breeding,” said Timothy McCormack of the Turtle Survival Alliance, Asian Turtle Programme (ATP).

The HMS Bullfrog, which survived attacks by both the Nazis and the Japanese during World War 2, is headed for the scrap yard unless it finds new ownership.

According to the press, the 75-year-old, 2,000 ton-museum ship, now named the Cable Restorer, has been berthed in Simon’s Town for 24 years.

The man at the helm, former Simon’s Town mayor Harry Dilley, has been instructed to dispose of the vessel.

Dilley said that he is running out of options to save the vessel. He has maintained the her for over a quarter of a century. In that time she has served as a restaurant, a wedding venue, a film set and a floating dormitory for maritime college pupils.

Not only is the vessel costly to maintain, but it is also unclear how long the navy will host it inside the military base.

“We do not have a good record with this kind of thing,” said Brian Ingpen, maritime educator and co-founder of the Lawhill Maritime Centre.  “To my thinking it would be wonderful if we could preserve her, but it costs a lot of money.”

Veteran Hout Bay operator Ken Evans believes that the vessel has both commercial and developmental potential.

“It is a difficult one. You actually need a bunch of philanthropists to keep it alive,” he said.

Weekly Press Review – 26 March 2018

Integrated logistics service supplier, Grindrod, has decided to sell and separately list its loss-making shipping business on the US Nasdaq Stock Exchange, with a secondary inward listing on the JSE.

According to the press, as part of Grindrod’s restructuring, the company has also decided to close its rail assembly business. It is proposed that the shipping business would be sold to Grindrod Shipping Holdings, an independent and newly incorporated Singapore registered company for R3.75 billion.

Five people involved in a multimillion-rand abalone poaching syndicate were sentenced in the Western Cape High Court this week after being found guilty of charges including contravening the Marine Living Resources Act, as well as the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

According to the press the Hawks, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) have all praised the sentencing. A DAFF spokesman said,” The department understands the enormous complexity of abalone poaching and smuggling. Therefore, heavy jail sentences against smugglers of abalone are needed.”

A meeting to discuss the odour from a fishmeal factory in Hout Bay was cancelled at the 11th hour when city officials did not arrive.

According to the press, Fresh Air for Hout Bay (FAHB) has complained that the emissions from the Lucky Star factory are a health hazard, despite the renewal of the Atmospheric Emission Licence by the city last year.

“We understand the factory cannot shutdown overnight due to the significant and real impact it would have on the broader community. FAHB has never advocated for the closure, but has instead advocated that the government needs to demonstrate it has a plan to resolve this situation: a harbour development plan that meets the socio-economic needs of local groups while addressing the concerns of residents regarding the air emissions,” said Kiara Worth, FAHB representative.

Weekly Press Review – 19 March 2018

Illegal fishing was under the spotlight at the 6th annual sustainable seafood symposium held in Cape Town this week.

According to the press, industry experts have revealed that illegal fishing is posing a high risk to both job security and food resources.

Chris Kastern, WWF-SA seafood market transformation manager said that increasing awareness and a growing sense of responsibility in the seafood industry has led to a number of global initiatives to help address the problem.

“In order for there to be sustainability, the harvesting of the precious resource must be addressed, and the right people need to start talking to each other,” says Kastern.

The leader of Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development, Hakainde Hichilema, has called on the government to lift a ban on fishing immediately.

According to the press, the country’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock extended a fishing ban from March 1 to April 30 in order to prevent outbreaks of cholera, but Hichilema says that some Zambians depend on the sector in order to make a living

The appearance of three more people in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court accused of being abalone poachers also made headlines this week. The Hawks are now intensifying their investigation into abalone poaching in the province.

The crew of the INSV Tarini crew left the Mother City this weekend.   According to the press they are expected to arrive in Goa within the next 40 days and will be the first Indian, all-female crew of Indian Navy to circumnavigate the globe.

Weekly Press Review – 12 March 2018

Transnet has launched a new company, Transnet International Holdings (TIH), to facilitate multiple rail, port and pipeline projects in Africa.

According to the press, with a capital injection of R100 million, TIH held its inaugural annual general meeting this week with the aim of commencing trade on 1 April.

Transnet chief executive Siyabonga Gama says that TIH will not be a burden on Transnet’s balance sheet. “The idea is to ring fence TIH to make sure that it does not take risks that are not managed,” he said.

Nine officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, are amongst the 17 people facing charges related to corruption and abalone poaching and remanded into custody after appearing in the Hermanus Magistrate’s Court this week.

According to the press, department officials allegedly colluded with abalone poachers by illegally selling seized abalone and escorting illegal abalone shipments.

Those accused face charges of corruption, racketeering, theft and defeating the ends of justice.

This week the SATS General Botha Old Boys’ Association paid homage to those from the training ship killed during World War II.

According to the press, the event was attended by deputy mayor, Ian Neilson, as well as representatives from the SA Legion, the Moths, the Royal Air Force Association, the SA Gunners Association and both the Lawhill Maritime Centre and TS Woltemade Sea Cadets.