Weekly Press Review – 26 June 2015

The Lucky Star fishmeal factory in Hout Bay is causing a stink this week.  The press reported that a meeting scheduled to discuss the smell of rotting fish emanating from the factory was cancelled at the last moment.

Lucky Star is a subsidiary of the Oceana group and the meeting between the company and the City’s mayoral committee was set to discuss mitigation measures by the factory to reduce air pollution.

Bulelwa Nombutuma, spokesperson for Oceana, said that the meeting did not take place as one of their council members was not available.

Kiara Worth, chairperson for the air pollution portfolio for the Hout Bay Residents Ratepayers Association said that the smell had been affecting schools, churches and homes as well as the well-being of residents in the area for over 20 years.

No indication has been given as to when, or if, the meeting will be re-scheduled.

From air pollution to water pollution.  It was reported in the press this week that a group of 160 civic organisations have urged the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to refuse the City of Cape Town’s application to continue pumping raw sewerage into the Atlantic, unless the City is able to come up with a plan to phase out sewerage-to-sea outfalls.

Unlike other areas in the city where sewerage is treated before it is pumped into the ocean, at the three areas in question, Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Green Point, the sewerage being pumped into the ocean has not been treated.

The City has responded by saying that it is simply too expensive to first pump the sewerage to the treatment plant at Athlone, and that at present there is no other viable alternative.

The Greater Cape Town Alliance has responded by saying that the time has come for new, innovative and environmentally friendly solutions for sewage disposal.

With the renewed focus on the blue economy and the investment in our oceans as the providers of food and the very air that we breathe, surely step one would be to start to address this kind  of problem and call on our young scientists to come up with financially viable solutions that could be implemented sooner rather than later.

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Weekly Press Review – 19 June 2015

Sea Harvest has made headlines this week with the launch of their new share scheme which will see the company issuing more than 4 million shares to its employees.

The company, which is owned by Brimstone Investment Corporation and Kagiso Tiso Holdings, regards the 4.3 million shares as an extension of it empowerment and shareholding for employees.

Sea Harvest executive chairman Fred Robertson said, “In celebrating 20 years of existence, Brimstone has endeavoured to assist in the growth and development of all subsidiaries and this share scheme does exactly that.

“We are very proud of our employees and it is imperative that the company’s success positively impacts them, their families and the surrounding community.”

Another fishing company making a difference in the community this week is the Oceana Group. It was reported in the press that the company has taken on the rehousing of nine Hout Bay families who lost their homes over two months ago in a fire.

After an appeal by the Hout Bay Civic Association, Oceana stepped in to assist with the building of several new fire-resistant houses.  The families affected by the fire will be moving in this weekend.

Avril Raatz who lost all her possessions in the fire said, “I am so excited.  I would like to thank Oceana and the Hout Bay Civic Association for making this happen.”

Weekly Press Review – 12 June 2015

After extremely slim pickings over the last two years the Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board is hopeful that there will be a marked improvement in sardine catches along the Durban coast, the press reports this week.

Good catches have been reported near Umgababa which will increase the likelihood of more shoals off Durban soon.

An aerial monitoring flight by the Sharks Board showed many small pockets of sardines and  the board also reported that five nets of about 80 crates of sardines had been successfully caught by the seine netters.

“After two years of no sardine runs, it looks very promising that we will have a better run this year.”

Members of the Hout Bay Residents Association remain, understandably,  up in arms at the City’s application to discharge effluent into the Atlantic Ocean.

Since 2009 it has been mandatory for coastal municipalities to apply for a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit.  The City is in the process of finalising its application for sea outfalls at Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Green Point.

In a letter to the City, Len Swimmer, Chairman of the Hout Bay  Residents Association said that the association takes the situation in Hout Bay very seriously.

“What we need is a proper sewage treatment plant with digesters that are capable of biodegrading the sewage.”

Weekly Press Review – 5 June 2015

It is good news for South Africa’s hake trawl industry this week as the press reports that the industry has been given the stamp of approval by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

This is the third five-year period that the local hake industry has been certified and will ensure that thousands of industry jobs will be secure and the lucrative EU export markets will not be lost.

Also reported in the press this week was the rescue of 30 oiled-soaked penguins who were airlifted to Sanccob after being discovered covered in oil on two islands in the marine section of the Addo Park.

The birds were found by rangers on St Croix Island and Bird Island.  According to Louanne Mostert, marketing and development co-ordinator at Sanccob, “They’ve all been washed and are doing fantastically.  They need to get their natural waterproofing back and then we will release them into the wild.”

Sanccob pointed out the significant overlap between busy shipping lanes around the South African coast and areas with high concentrations of seabirds and report that hundreds of thousands of seabirds are affected by oil pollution around the world.

The bad weather in Kwazulu-Natal has lead to the closing of most beaches this week as shark nets are removed due to the large swells, the press reported this week.

“These large swells have the potential to cause severe damage to and dislodge shark safety gear,” said KZN Sharks Board spokesman Mike Anderson.

Visitors to the beach have been advised to speak to life guards on duty to determine the status of bathing areas.