South Africa’s research ships are back in the news this week, well at least one. The Ellen Khuzwayo has returned to operation and has already completed a number of research projects.
Nautic Africa, one of the companies that was awarded the tender to manage and repair the vessel, has stated that there has been “a significant survey gap” during the seven months that the vessel was inactive. The vessel is equipped with an acoustic laboratory, hydrology wet and dry laboratories, a wet fish room and an operation’s room and has already made several voyages to gather data designed to determine shark longline quotas.
Also in the news this week, Premier Helen Zille has made the announcement that the aquaculture industry on the West Coast is to be expanded, along with abalone and salmon farming, creating as many as 2 600 jobs and increasing abalone production to 1000 tons per year.
A Taiwanese-owned vessel due to be auctioned by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) made headlines this week. The vessel, either named the Naham 4 or the Derhorng 596, has been under investigation by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) since early 2013 on suspicion of illegal fishing in South Africa’s exclusive fishing zone.
The vessel was detained in April last year, and following the seizure the owners abandoned the vessel, leaving the vessel’s agent with a debt of over R1 million.
According to Godfrey Needham, the ship’s curator appointed by the NPA, about 10 ships have been detained over the past year, but the actual auctioning of detained ships is not a frequent event.