Weekly Press Review – 6 February 2015

The abalone poaching crisis has again received some coverage in the press this week. Large areas of Hout Bay beaches reveal sad abalone graveyards as abalone shells lie knee deep in some places, pointing to the fact that abalone poaching is still rampant in this part of the world.

Markus Burgener of the wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic, said, ”It’s a huge problem because it is such a well established business now, well run and obviously worth a lot of money.”

“It’s really a difficult thing to turn around now. You need a much bigger budget and different enforcement tactics to keep abalone in the water.

Interestingly Burgener also pointed out that poaching is not just a random crime, but is often in response to the extreme poverty experienced in various coastal towns. He, therefore, added that one would need to look at, at minimum, a five year strategy to find alternate employment opportunities to poaching.

The  Ocean Basket restaurant chain made headlines this week having to explain to both customers and the Advertising Standards Authoruty of SA (ASA), as to why it served a Pangasius fish which is harvested from fresh water and not sea water, as is expected from the restaurant.

Marketing analyst, Chris Moerdyk, seems to think that the chain need not be too concerned about its brand image after the incident. “It takes quite a lot to damage a brand and I do not think this will do it.”

His advise: “Do the right thing and apologise to the public and in future mention whether its product comes from freshwater or seawater.”

The electronic shark nets at False Bay have made the headlines again this week; this time with scientist pulling their hair out in frustration at the lack of shark activity in the area. Paul von Blerck, researcher from KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board said, “We’ve spent an arm and a leg on this equipment and not a single white shark to date. No shark means we can’t test the equipment. Even one animal would give us some direction.”

Shark activity in the area over the summer season has decreased from between 50 and 60 sightings in some years to a mere 21 this year. Great for swimmers, not so great for researchers.

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