An interesting application of the Marine Living Resources Act made the news this week. A Paarl man has been arrested for salting and preserving fish without a permit. According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) all fish-processing establishments as defined in section 18(1) of the act needed permits.
“The Marine Living Resources Act does not prescribe the amount, it only states that the salting of fish is processing and one requires a permit therefore,” said Carol Moses, spokeswoman for the department’s fisheries branch. The concern is obviously that this could put small fish shops and informal sellers out of business.
The department has now begun the task of “systematically addressing outlets.” Surely this will be a time consuming process which can only add to the pressure on an already stretched department.
The disgraced captain of the Costa Concordia also made the news again. Francesco Schettino, is facing the music as he faces charges of abandoning ship and manslaughter after the sinking of the cruise liner in 2012.
He has asked for a plea bargain deal in which he would serve just over three years if he admits responsibility. According to the chief prosecutor, there is “no doubt” of Schettino’s guilt. All that must be decided is “how long a sentence he will get.”
Labelled as “Italy’s most hated man” by the Italian press, it would seem that the court of public opinion is not keen to show any leniency. It will, however, be the responsibility of the court to decide the fate of a man who obviously made a terrible mistake and then chose to put his own safety above the safety of the souls that he was directly responsible for.
With the Patrol vessels still not in full operation one wonders to what extent our oceans are being exploited today, which makes the time spent on arresting small time fish retailers rather frivolous.
New passenger vessels are required to be constructed to the newly implemented “Safe Return to Port” regulations, which aims to keep the vessel operating and afloat after suffering serious fire or hull damages and hopefully also protect the ships complement from the consequences of reckless navigation. Captain Francesco owes the people that suffered due to his negligence and should take the repercussions of his actions on the chin.