Weekly Press Review – 8 November 2013

Rock lobster quotas were back in the press last week. In an attempt to aid the recovery of the drastically depleted stocks, the fisheries department has reduced this season’s quota for West Coast rock lobster.

According to DAFF, the stocks are so depleted that they are at only three percent of what they were 100 years ago. In response to this drastic scenario the TAC has been reduced from 2,426 tons to 2,167 tons.

According to acting deputy director-general of fisheries management at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Desmond Stevens, the move was to ensure that the lobster population was managed “in an ecologically sound manner based on proven scientific principles.”

This is quite an interesting comment as the fisheries department has been known to completely ignore “proven scientific principles”in the past and over ride advised quotas.

Let us hope that this does not become a case of far too little, far too late.

History buffs will be interested in the case of the slave ship the Meermin which is back in the news this week thanks the VOC Foundation who have created a replica of the famous ship to be displayed in the Iziko Museum.

In 1766, as the ship sailed between Madagascar and the Cape Colony, the 140 slaves on board mutinied and gained control of the vessel. It was agreed that the slaves would be returned to Madagascar as free men, but the crew of the Meermin did not honour the agreement and tricked the slaves into heading towards land that was not, in fact Madagascar, where the Dutch were waiting to capture them.

It is believed that the Meermin was wrecked near Struisbaai, but the wreck has never been found.

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