Weekly Press Review – 28 November 2014

The plight of local fishermen has made headlines again this week with frustrated fishermen from Western Cape coastal towns delivering a memorandum to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) demanding the issuing of immediate interim relief permits.

Coastal Links SA, who represent approximately 4,000 small scale fishermen from various coastal towns, and its secretariat, Masifundise Development Trust released a joint statement, saying, “Deep and enduring problems with the interim relief system are playing havoc with the lives of thousands of people.”

“The late issuing of permits, the inclusion of non-fishermen in beneficiary lists and general mismanagement by the department deprives fishermen of sustainable livelihoods and is causing conflict.”

The addition of military support in the war against perlemoen poaching has also made headlines this week with troops now patrolling poaching hot spots in Buffeljagsbaai and Hawston in the company of fisheries officials.

Chief joint operations officer Lieutenant-General Derrick Mgwebi said, “We have a responsibility to protect the maritime resources of South Africa. We do this in co-operation with the SAPS, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), communities and others involved.”

A self-confessed poacher, not named, said, “People are going hungry because they are too scared to poach while the army is around.”

Japan’s plans to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean have once again made headlines.  Tokyo cancelled its Antarctic hunt earlier this year after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the decades-old hunt should stop.  The decision was based on an attempt to pursue more sustainable whaling.

Japan has long claimed that most whale species are in fact not endangered and that eating whale meat is part of the country’s food culture.

Pollution along the beach at Melkbos is a hot topic in the press this week as rate payers in the area struggle to keep the beach clean.  Public negligence and ignorance seem to be the main contributors to the ongoing problem as beach-goers simply do not discard their waste correctly in the bins provided.  The result is that over a ton of waste is collected from only 12 city beaches each month.


Weekly Press Review – 21 November 2014

The handing down of the first jail sentence under the Marine Living Resources Act has made headlines this week, with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) applauding the outcome.

Huang Zhanyang and Pow Kekun of China pleaded guilty to charges of operating an illegal fish-processing establishment and the illegal possession of abalone.  They were sentenced to three years in jail by the Port Elizabeth Regional Court.

The department was quoted as saying, “This sentence will serve as a major deterrent to anyone who is currently involved in the illegal harvesting, transporting, processing and exporting of our valuable and exploited marine resources, and it gives new impetus to our campaign to protect and grow our marine resources.”

Kreef divers are responding to the new shorter kreef fishing season in the press this week.  Several divers interviewed at Rooiels said that bad weather and murky waters would now no longer have any impact on whether or not to dive.

The season has been shortened from 26 to 21 days and the quota has been dropped from 83 to 69 tons.

Today is World Fisheries Day.  The day is marked around the world by fishing communities through rallies, workshops, public meetings and workshops; all designed to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries.  The day also serves as a reminder of the importance of water and the many, many lives that are sustained by our oceans.



Weekly Press Review – Friday 14 November 2014

Scarring on whales has made headlines this week as it has been found to be of great assistance to scientists in unraveling the mystery of whale migration routes.

Up until now scientist have been aware that humpback whales migrate between their polar feeding grounds and warmer waters for breeding, but the exact routes have been remained a mystery.

Researchers from the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute have revealed that the scarring on humpback whales, along with how recently they have occurred,  goes a long way to indicating which routes the whales are using to reach their breeding grounds off the west coast of South Africa, Namibia and Gabon.

Researcher, Tess Gridley says that by looking at the patterns of scars caused by cookiecutter sharks and killer whales and comparing these with the distribution of these predators, some light has been shed on the waters that the whales travel through en route to our coast.

“We are reasonable confident that cookiecutter sharks prefer living in warmer waters and avoid the shallower, colder waters of the Benguela ecosystem on the western coast of South Africa and Namibia.  So if whales have lots of cookiecutter shark bites, there’s a good chance they have recently passed through warm water in offshore areas, and only recently reached the coast,” says Gridley.

Weekly Press Review – 7 November 2014

The Volvo Ocean Race has made headlines this week as it arrives in Cape Town.  The race is a great opportunity for the local economy, generating thousands of job opportunities and generating a tidy cash injection.

Garreth Bloor, Mayco member for tourism, events and marketing, says, “These large events that attract well-heeled participants together with association services, contribute significantly to our economic growth.”

Also making headlines this week is a new method of monitoring penguins currently being tested in France.  An international team has been involved in the testing of a robotic penguin chick, cleverly disguised as a real chick, complete with down covering, fins and a sharp beak.

The rover was designed to assist with the reading of signals from electronic ID tags fitted to some of the penguins for research purposes.  These tags cannot be read beyond a distance of 60 metres.  The rover is able to get extremely close to both adult and baby penguins whilst causing very little stress to the birds.

The tests are taking place on king penguins on Possession Island in the Indian Ocean, as well as on Emperor penguins in Antarctica.  Co-author of the study, Yvon Le Maho of the University of Strasbourg in France said that the project may lead to “more ethical research that also avoids the scientific bias caused by disturbing the animals in their natural habitat.”

A group of 14 young turtles have also made headlines this week as they make their journey from the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town to UShaka Marine World in Durban.

Every year between April and May, due to the strong currents, turtles wash up on the beach between Noordhoek and Camps Bay.  People who spot them bring them into the Two Oceans Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Aquarium Communications manager Renee Leeuwner says, “They come to us dehydrated, suffering from hypothermia and we get them back on track. Each turtle gets individual attention; once they are ready we take them to uShaka to be released.”