Weekly Press Review – 28 February 2014

Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson finally made the announcement this week that fishermen who lost their traditional linefish rights at the end of 2013 will be allowed to continue fishing until the end of April 2014.

The Minister said,”There do seem to be legitimate concerns either relating to poor administration of the applications or questionable judgements by the delegated officers.  I do want to deal with these questions of propriety before I can consider any appeals that may be lodged.”

I think that most people would agree that firstly, this was a very mild summing up of the problems that have plagued the fishing rights allocation process and also that it seems far too little, too late for those fishermen who are struggling to maintain their livelihoods.

We will see what the minster comes back with after “”dealing with” these questions and whether the process shall then continue as is or, as many are calling for, be completely re-examined.  Perhaps a fresh start is what is called for.   Certainly many lessons can be learnt from the errors of the last 12 months alone.

After listening to a variety of radio reports about a grounded vessel yesterday that all seemed to get the news incorrect; it was reported in the press that a Hout Bay-based crayfish boat ran aground near Betty’s Bay resulting in the death of one man.

Unfortunately the vessel, Connect, ran aground in a Marine Protected Area and the resulting  10,000 litre diesel spill is endangering the nearly 4,000 penguins and other seabirds and animals in the area.

Justin Lawrence, spokesman for Cape Nature said, “What makes the situation dangerous is the fact that the diesel is not visible, therefore, we cannot determine how far it has spread.  We are trying to rescue as many penguins and seabirds as we can.“

The vessel is also believed to be carrying 80 litres of engine oil.

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