Weekly Press Review – 30 May 2014

After the dramatic governmental cabinet shuffle announced this week, there are many in the industry who breathed a sigh of relief at the news that Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will no longer be at the helm of the fisheries department and that that position is now in the hands of Minister Senzeni Zokwana.

Having said that, many civil society groups are dismayed at the news that Minister Joemat-Pettersson will now head up the Department of Energy.  Some feel that she should have been removed from office altogether, rather being handed control of a department that is crucial for the development of the country.

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa was quoted as saying that the ANC did not determine an individual’s capabilities on the basis of past experience.

A new study has revealed that bottom trawling is causing “deep-sea biological desertification.”  This type of fishing, where a net is dragged along the ocean floor, has been controversial for many years.  It is recognised as the most destructive form of fishing, primarily due to the large numbers of marine species that are caught and killed in the nets as bycatch, but also due to the damage caused to coral reefs.

The new study goes even further to say that the microscopic sea creatures living in the marine sediment are killed during trawling.

The study was conducted by Antonio Pusceddu of the Polytechnic University of Italy.

In South Africa bottom trawling is used to catch hake, sole and prawns.  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) confirms that there are very high numbers of bycatch, including seals, seabirds, turtles, prawns and sharks.

With the ever-growing concern for our planet,  it is believed that a less destructive method of fishing needs to be given some consideration.

Two anglers, Gareth Collingwood and Gary Clouws, learnt the hard way that our marine life is full of surprises.  A day of sporting fun off the coast of Durban turned into a nightmare when a blue marlin, weighing an estimated 100kg, leapt out of the sea and skewered both men to the back section of their boat.

The incident happened at about 11am and resulted in massive damage to the boat as well as the two anglers being aided by the NSRI and taken to the local hospital.  A month later their wounds are still dressed and they are still going for regular hospital check-ups.

As for the marlin …. it got away.

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