Weekly Press Review – 24 April 2017

Two men were arrested in Gordon’s Bay this week in possession of 3,015 crayfish tails. According to the press, Captain van Wyk, provincial police spokesperson, said that the goal of responsible policing in the area had been achieved after information provided by members of the local community lead to the arrests.

The K9 dog unit was responsible for tracking down the vehicle in question. “In the vehicle they found plastic bags containing 3,015 crayfish tails and 60 whole crayfish,” said van Wyk.

The two suspects, aged 23 and 34, were arrested and will appear in the Strand Magistrates court on charges of the illegal transport of crayfish and other charges involving the Marine Living Resources Act.

In an unusual headline this week two members of the NSRI required rescuing after their boat overturned near Jacobsbaai during a scuba diving session.

According to Craig Lambinon, NSRI spokesman, the NSRI was called to the rescue of two of its staff members, Megan and Matthew Melidonis, who got into trouble when their rubber boat overturned.

No one was injured in the incident.

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Weekly Press Review – 18 April 2017

During a joint operation between Greenpeace and Guinean fisheries authorities, two Chinese vessels were each fined 250,000 euros (R3.14 million) after shark fins were discovered on board the vessels.

According to the press, a third Chinese vessel was also fined after it was discovered that it was using illegal nets and fishing for species outside of its license conditions.

Numerous shark carcasses were also found on board the vessels, including hammerhead sharks, which are an endangered species.

Greenpeace Africa oceans campaigner Ahmed Diame said, “ What we’re seeing here is an utter lack of respect of west African fishing laws.”

Also making headlines this week are the three UCT scientists who recently returned from a three-month voyage circumnavigating Antarctica aboard the Russian vessel, the Akademik Teshnikov.

The three scientists, Dr Sarah Fawcett, Heather Forrer and Professor Peter Ryan, jumped at the opportunity to join one of the biggest and most ambitious scientific expeditions in history, the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE).

The aim of the expedition was to see first-hand what impact climate change was having on the Southern Ocean and how this affected humans.

“I think that this is going to lead to a lot of really important constraints on how we understand the role of this region in climate,” said Fawcett.

New DoT Minister misses maritime 

It is disheartening to note that the first briefing given by the new Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, yesterday outlining the immediate tasks for his department made no mention of the maritime industry. 

This, despite the recent revealing of the DoT’s Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy as well as the central role that the DoT’s agency, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), plays in the government-driven Operation Phakisa focused on growing the maritime sectors. 

This, despite the need for that agency to see the finalisation of an appointment of a permanent CEO and despite many other initiatives that are currently receiving and in need of attention. 

His briefing understandably looks primarily at road transport issues and we give cognizance to the importance of this sector in his stable. It also briefly mentions rail in relation to the agreement with China to build the Moloto Rail Development Corridor, but it fails to even give a nod to the maritime sector. 

And, as it refers to the proud history of struggle heros who dedicated their energy to fighting for better quality of life for their comrades and his commitment to patriotism as well as the National Development Plan, he may well have taken note that the maritime industry is the sector in his portfolio that offers a great opportunity for delivering on these promises. 

It would be disappointing if the current momentum gained in the industry in sensitising government to the potential impact of the maritime sector is lost. We are fortunate, however, in the fact that the Deputy Minister, Sindiswe Chikhunga, is already known to be a driver for maritime awareness within the Department and it is hoped that her voice will continue to be heard.