Weekly Press Review – 2 November 2012

The Panos Earth is back in the news this week following the announcement that the once-stranded vessel’s crew will finally be paid some of the wages and living costs owed to them after the vessel was stranded. However, the victory is a small one as they will not be receiving the full amount owed. In a rather unusual occurrence, the preservation costs (the cost of keeping the ship afloat in false Bay) exceeded the amount that the ship was sold for, leaving the crew high and dry as there simply is no funding to pay all the creditors.

Alan Goldberg, maritime attorney for the captain and crew said, “It’s the first time I’ve come across a case like this in all the time I’ve been practising.” He further stated that all the creditors were going to lose out and most would not see a penny.

In other news, a study undertaken by a UN expert has revealed that ‘ocean-grabbing’ is becoming a real threat to food security in developing nations. The term ‘ocean-grabbing’ refers to aggressive industrial fishing by foreign fleets.

The report serves as a warning to all emerging maritime nations to tighten the rules for access to their waters by industrial fleets. Olivier de Schutter, author of the report stated, ‘We need to do more to reduce the capacity of the industrial fishing fleets and to manage the fish stocks in a much more sustainable way.’ The report further states that local fishing is regarded as far more efficient and less wasteful than industrial fishing.

Although making headlines, this may not be breaking news for those in the industry and one only has to look at the claim that this sort of ocean grabbing led to the increase in piracy around Africa to understand the implications.

Our own Fisheries Department will be answering questions on rights allocation, small scale fisheries and security of our fishing grounds next week in parliament – let’s wait and see what headlines they can create in this regard.

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