The media welcomed the returning research vessel SA Agulhas this week. She arrived back in Cape Town on Wednesday after safely delivering British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team to an ice shelf in the Antarctica, where he is attempting the first crossing of the Antarctic in winter.
DA fisheries spokesman, Pieter van Dalen is on the warpath this week. He is demanding that Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson provide a plan of action “to prevent the potential loss of jobs in the fishing industry.”
Van Dalen is claiming that, due to the fact that the minister failed to ensure a critical hake stock survey, the fisheries sector stands to lose up to R3 billion. With the research ship SAS Africana still grounded for repairs and a private company carrying out the survey, there is concern that the survey will not be completed resulting in the loss of the lucrative foreign market.
The department, however, does not seem concerned with Lionel Adendorf being quoted saying, we are “satisfied with the progress of the West Coast demersal survey … currently being undertaken with the assistance of the research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen and the Benguela Current Commission.”
Given the looming end of the Navy’s curatorship of the DAFF vessels it is likely that the media will hear more from Van Dalen as he continues to stir the pot of controversy surrounding this matter.