Weekly Press Review – 27 November 2015

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, attended a World Fisheries Day celebration in Humansdorp in the Eastern Cape this week.  According to the press, the minister said that fishing communities needed to be the custodians of the protection of marine resources.

The celebrations served to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries, as fish is an important source of food for many worldwide. One in five people depend on fish as their primary food source.

With the holiday season just around the corner, South African harbours are preparing for a busy tourist season. TNPA Chief Executive Richard Vallihu was quoted in the press this week as saying that at least eight pleasure boats and 10 passenger ships are expected to bring tens of thousands of both international and local tourists to South African harbours over the next few months.

Some of the vessels scheduled to visit our shores include:

  • Nautica – Ocean Cruises
  • Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager – Regent seven Seas Cruises
  • MS Astor – Transocean Tours
  • MS Marina and Insignia – Oceania Cruises
  • Silver Cloud – Silversea Cruises, and
  • Europa 2 – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Also making headlines this week is the arrival of the Meteoro in Table Bay.  The vessel is one of the world’s most advanced offshore patrol vessels and has recently spent four months in the Gulf of Aden fighting piracy off the Somalian coast.

The deployment of the Meteoro forms part of the Spanish government’s commitment to Operation Atlanta, the EU’s counter-piracy mission started in 2008.

The vessel will host several official engagements during her stay in the Cape.

Weekly Press Review – 20 November 2015

I&J has made headlines this week with the launch of two new vessels to be added to their fishing fleet.  The Ferox and the Umlodi will form part of the company’s R500 million investment in the fishing industry. The two new vessels will be replacing older vessels in the fleet and will provide 75 new jobs within the industry.

The rescue of 32 baby penguins from Dyer Island off Gansbaai has been in the news this week.

At this time of year the parents of several young chicks undergo their annual moulting season.  During this phase the birds do not go out to sea.  This means that they are unable to supply their young with food and the baby birds face starvation.

Under usual circumstances nature conservationists would allow nature to take its course, but due to the drastically depleting penguin numbers, intervention is essential.

Cape Nature and the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary have therefore stepped in and removed the 32 young birds from the island.  They have been taken to a rehabilitation centre in Kleinbaai where they will be fed and cared for until they are able to fend for themselves, at which point they will be released.

Cape Natures’s conservation manager, Deon Geldenhuys said, “If it were not for the efforts of the chick bolstering project, these abandoned chicks would starve to death.”

This weekend Capetonians will have the opportunity to board a traditional Hawaiin sail boat which is docked at the V&A waterfront.

According to the press the Hokule has been docked in Cape Town for the past week and this weekend is the final opportunity for interested Capetonians to board the vessel and found out how this historical vessel is piloted using only the ocean currents and the stars.

A Ceremony of Friendship with traditional Hawaiin singing and dancing took place in Cape Town last week.

Weekly Press Review – 13 November 2015

Environmental concerns have featured predominantly in the press this week.

A large glacier in Greenland has become unmoored and has started to crumble into the Atlantic Ocean.  The result could be an increase in water levels of up to 45 cm.

A research team from the University of California have been studying the glacier in question using satellite imagery.  According to research published in Science, the glacier is losing mass at a rate of five billion tons a year.

According to scientists the shape and dynamics of the glacier have changed dramatically over the last few years and it is now breaking up and calving high volumes of icebergs into the ocean, resulting in rising sea levels for years to come.

Senior author, Eric Rignot, said, “The top of the glacier is melting away as a result of decades of steadily increasing air temperatures, while its underside is compromised by currents carrying warmer ocean water.”

Also making headlines is the concern voiced by Italian scientist Sara Andreotti that great white sharks along the South African coast do not have enough genetic diversity to survive a lethal disease or major change in the environment and are therefore at higher risk of extinction.

Andreotti and her team conducted research over a four year period aboard a catamaran focusing on shark hotspots along the South African coast from Port Nolloth to Port Elizabeth.

Andreotti believes that future conservation measures need to take the low gene pool into account.  “A starting point would be to stop killing them legally, to stop the shark nets and baited hooks in Kwa-Zulu Natal that are designed to kill them.  The white shark population … is not as healthy as we thought,” says Andreotti.

Another perlemoen arrest has made headlines this week.  Two men were arrested on a small holding in Gordons Bay in possession of perlemoen with an estimated value of R1.5 million.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) was called in to count the perlemoen.  There were 81 fresh perlemoen and 13 160 dried perlemoen.  the two men will appear in the Strand Magistrates Court on Monday.

Weekly Press Review – 6 November 2015

This week a small slice of maritime history was celebrated as the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) hosted a commemoration entitled:  Remembering the Icons of the Sea.

Members of the media were included in the event which took place aboard the SA Agulhas in the Cape Town docks.  The commemoration was in honour of the approximately 40 brave men exiled from South Africa who attempted to enter the country aboard the Soviet vessel, The Aventura.

The vessel was bound for KwaZulu-Natal, but Operation Aventura was abandoned just outside Somalia and the men then found their way into South Africa via Swaziland and Botswana.

Former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) commander Fanele Mbali and fellow comrades Tlom Cholo and Zola Nqose, who were all part of the Luthuli attachment, attended the event.

“We desperately wanted to get back home to fight the boer, and die in that engagement if we had to,” said Mbali.

SAMSA chief executive Tsietsi Mokhele said, “Our stalwarts played a significant role in maritime heritage.  What the stalwarts made us realise was that the sea offers more than just fish and a good view.  Maritime explorations were critical.”

The Oceana Fishmeal Factory in Hout Bay is back in the headlines this week.

The jobs of 98 of the factory’s employees have been saved thanks to a successful bid by the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU).

In August Oceana made the announcement that they would not be able to keep the factory working due to continual complaints from some residents in the area about the smell emitted from the factory.

The jobs of the workers have been saved after the signing of an agreement between Fawu and Oceana, extending the operating lease of the factory from one to five years.

Oceana also announced this week that the company would be spending an estimated R11 million to update their chemical scrubbing technology to deal with the odour problem.

Chief executive Francois Kuttel was, however, quick to point out that the this was not going to solve the problem to the satisfaction of all residents of Hout Bay.

“Let me be categorical here, unfortunately, nothing we are going to do will stop the smell.  The technology simply does not exist,” he said.

The name Bengis is also back in the headlines this week with the announcement that David Bengis, son of former Cape Town fishing magnate Arnold Bengis, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to the South African government as restitution for the illegal harvesting of rock lobster in South African waters.

This is part of the $22.5 million that a US court ordered Arnold and David Bengis, along worth their partner Jeffrey Noll, to pay the South African government as restitution for the illegal importation of poached lobster to the US.

The lobster were poached in South Africa between 1987 and 2001.