Weekly Press Review – 23 November 2012

There was more bad news in the press this week regarding the countries abalone stocks. In a report presented to the portfolio committee by fisheries scientists and officials it is predicited that abalone will be totally extinct by the year 2035, if not sooner.

Once the abalone stock has completely disappeared, South Africa will have not only experienced a great loss from an environmental point of view, but also from a financial and job creation perspective.

As abalone stocks have diminished, younger and younger abalone have been poached and the slow-growing shellfish has simply not had enough time to mature and procreate. In certain areas abalone is already regarded as ‘functionally extinct’, meaning that there are not enough mature adult abalone left to breed.

This is a very sad state of affairs and one must ask where the blame lies?

This week the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) approved the global total allowable catch (TAC) for West Coast lobster for the 2012/13 season. News reports highlight that many in the industry, however, are concerned that the level is far to high, particularly in light of the critical West Coast rock lobster recovery plan.

Shaheen Moolla of Feike has once again been extremely outspoken about DAFF and Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson in particular, who has been accused of meddling in the TAC determination, stating, “Although much-vaunted in parliament as part of the department of fisheries ‘successes’ the implementation of … the rock lobster operational management procedure has essentially been tossed out of the window.”

With the Africana still in the Simon’s Town dockyard under repair and no indication of when the vessel will be able to return to work in order to complete the crucial pelagic survey, it has been reported in the press this week that the fisheries department has been thrown a lifeline. The fishing industry has come forward and offered to lend the fisheries department a vessel, the Compass Challenger, to replace the Africana, in order to ensure that the survey can continue.

Fisheries spokesman Lionel Adendorf said that the department welcomed the offer and was currently putting the necessary processes into place .

Congratulations to the fishing industry – it is not only a ‘boer’ that can make a plan.

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