Weekly Press Review – 7 June 2013

In the news this week a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and the Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC). The memorandum opens collaboration between the two port authorities in infrastructure development, engineering, training and marine services and allows for sharing of expertise with the idea of paving the way for South African companies to use the port of Maputo as an extension of the Transnet network.

Casualty news is that another stricken vessel is heading to our shores this week. The Tristan da Cuhna supply ship, the Edinburgh, developed difficulties last week about 1000 nautical miles west of Cape Town and is being escorted back to Cape Town by the Smit Amandla salvage tug.

Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has made the headlines again this week after President Jacob Zuma made the decision to transfer some of the minister’s powers and functions to Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental and Water Affairs. The changes relate particularly to powers and functions of the ministers under the Marine Living Resources Act.

It would seem that even the president is now aware that Minster Joemat-Pettersson needs a little help.

Judith Sole is back in the news this week with another appearance before the Western Cape High Court. She is now asking for the full suspension of rock lobster fishing for up to 10 years. Alternatively, she would like to see the suspension of all commercial rock lobster fishing.

Although Sole’s efforts are admirable, one must bear in mind that 2500 rights holders would be drastically affected by such a ruling. Surely an open discussion between Ms Sole, the rights holders and the respondents in the case, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Greta Apelgren-Narkadien, former fisheries deputy director, to see where changes could be made to protect all those involved, including the rock lobster, would be more beneficial.

Speaking at the African Marine Debris Summit in Kirstenbosch this week, Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi raised concerns about the ever-increasing amount of waste making its way to our oceans. With continued economic growth in Africa, waste management is becoming a critical issue.

Marine debris has a negative impact on health, tourism and is responsible for the deaths of many sea creatures. “Africa must not join the rest of the world using the sea as a dumping area for its waste material,” said the minister.

Let us hope that a solution can be found … and quickly.

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