The fishing rights allocation process made headlines again this week as a discussion of a report by the fisheries department, explaining the controversial allocation process, was not discussed by the portfolio committee as scheduled.
The reason: the appeals process is still not 100 percent complete and the report is, therefore, still regarded as “a work in progress.”
Needless to say there were angry responses from both DA MPs Pieter van Dalen and Annette Steyn. They both described the urgency with which the allocation process needed to be discussed, saying there was a “crisis out there” as many fishers lost their livelihoods at the end of last year.
It is shocking that a situation which obviously requires immediate attention is not met with the urgency that is necessary to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.
In some sad news this week, a Department of Environmental Affairs technician, involved in an expedition on Gough Island has died. Johannes Hoffman, aged 36, apparently choked on his own vomit and doctors on site were unable to save him.
Colleagues who worked with Hoffman are obviously in shock and are receiving counseling from a psychologist who is also charged with bringing Hoffman’s body back to Cape Town.
Of course, today’s media attention will focus on the president’s State of the Nation Address last night – which did at least nod in the direction of the maritime industry by mentioning the importance of the fishing industry; progress relating to port development as well as the imminent importance of the offshore oil and gas industries to Saldanha Bay and Cape Town.