Weekly Press Review – 27 February 2018

This week Economic Opportunities MEC, Alan Winde confirmed that incidents of the highly contagious H5N8 avian flu had been found in sea bird populations in the western province.

According to the press seven cases of infected African penguins from six different sites along the provincial coastline have been detected.

“Due to the status of African penguins as endangered, a decision has been made to treat infected birds.

“The management authorities of all major sea bird colonies around the coastline are monitoring their zones closely. All necessary precautionary protocols to contain the spread of the disease have been implemented and extended surveillance and collaboration across the sectors is assisting with further epidemiological evaluations,” said Winde.

An all-women crew from India is currently navigating the globe and will be visiting Cape Town harbour this week.

According to the press, the vessel, the INSV Tarini, is skippered by Commander Vartika Joshi, along with her all female crew from various parts of India.

The aim of the voyage is to encourage woman to feel empowered and promote sailing, as well as to gather meteorological data and showcase India’s capabilities.

The crew have had to navigate some rough seas, but “the journey has been really great,” said Commander Joshi.

This week marks the 101 year anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi.  According to the press, the family of Lieutenant Samuel Emslie, who captained the ill-fated troopship, hope that the event will become a permanent feature in school history books across South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaposa spoke at the Armed Forces Day celebration in Kimberley this week. The event commemorates servicemen who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as the sinking of the SS Mendi.

President Ramaposa commended the SANDF for its diversity during his address.

Yoshi the loggerhead turtle is also back in the news this week. The turtle, who is fitted with a tracking device, was released from the Two Oceans Aquarium in December and has already covered a distance of 1,860km.

In the two months since her release Yoshi has passed two countries and experts believe that she will either settle at Cape Verde or possibly even cross the Atlantic and head for the nesting populations of the Bahamas, Florida and Mexico.


Weekly Press Review – 19 February 2018

The Two Ocean Aquarium is back in the news this week with its turtle rehabilitation and release programme.

The programme cares for a number of injured turtles with the hope of restoring their health and releasing them back into the ocean as soon as possible.

At present the aquarium is caring for a young hatchling (Hatchling No 31), a loggerhead turtle who is not quite ready for release, but is receiving massage and exercise in order to strengthen his front flippers.

Newcomer Koda is also doing well after being rescued at Eskom Koeberg Nature Reserve and brought to the aquarium covered in barnacles.

Other turtles under the care of the aquarium include Moya, recovering from a large wound to his flipper and Bob and Sandy recovering from a propeller wound and loss of eyesight due to eating plastic respectively.

We thank the staff at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium for all their efforts, but the reality is that all these incidents could have been prevented.  Surely it is time for those using our oceans to become more aware of who they are sharing the marine environment with.  Our marine animals are suffering due to our disregard for, not only their natural environment, but for the very environment that we depend for our survival.


Weekly Press Review – 12 February 2018

Making headlines this week is the news that fishing company, Sea Harvest, expects to see an improvement in its earnings a share of at least 28 percent for the year ending in December.

The group says the performance was mainly driven by the South African operations with strong market demand for Cape hake globally and significantly enhanced performance from the investments made in the Saldanha Bay processing plants.

With the huge amounts of perlemoen constantly poached from South African waters, a call has been made to national government to turn its attention to the ongoing poaching, as well as its policy towards small-scale fisheries.

A request is to be made to Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) that funding be made available to ensure the effective execution of the small-scale fisheries policy.

DAFF has been accused of neglecting the issue thus far.

Excitement is mounting for the return of 20 cadets who have been involved in a three-month exploration expedition to the Antarctica aboard the SA Agulhas.  According to the press the cadets will be docking in Cape Town later next week.

The cadets are pursuing maritime studies at various institutions and have spent the last three month aboard the science training vessel journeying through the Antarctica.

According to SAMSA chief operations officer, Sobantu Tilayi, “As SAMSA we are proud to have created a platform for young cadets to be trained on our vessel and gain experience in the open sea.”

Weekly Press Review – 5 February 2018

Minister Senzeni Zokwana is exploring alternate remedies to resolve the appeals filed by applicants for Hake Inshore Trawl fishing rights – without litigation.

According to the press, a statement will be issued within the next 15 days to update members of the public and the fishing industry on progress made in resolving the review applications.

The release of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) by the Two Oceans Aquarium also made headlines this week.

The sunfish, named Holy Moly, was rescued by aquarium staff in December 2017 after it became trapped in the V&A Waterfront harbour. The fish has been cared for at the aquarium since, but after careful observation of its behaviour lately, it was felt that the fish was ready for release.

The ocean sunfish is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation and in South Africa alone over 340,000 are killed as by-catch annually.