Weekly Press Review – 14 September 2016

According to the press Transnet, the state-owned freight and logistics company, has set aside R20 million to spend in mergers and acquisitions both inside and outside of South Africa.

Transnet’s chief executive, Siyabonga Gama, was quoted as saying that the company would pursue growth opportunities abroad in the face of limited organic growth prospects in South Africa because of low economic growth.

The fishing rights allocation has made headlines once again this week with the ANC coming under fire from its West Coast region, which has threatened action over the allocation process. The region has stated that the current process benefited white companies to the detriment of small-scale fishers.

ANC acting provincial chairperson Khaya Magaxa said, “We appreciate the fact that the ANC at a national level is trying by all means to make some strategic intervention in terms of the allocation of fishing rights, to the benefit of the poor – acknowledging that in the past there’s been a consistent bias towards the rich, well-established companies.

“If there’s no change, we as the ANC are prepared to take this matter to the streets.”

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) spokesperson, Palesa Mokomele, said that the department would only make rights allocations to small-scale fishers in 2017.

Another perlemoen bust was reported on in the press this week. This time police confiscated approximately R1 million worth of perlemoen in Edgemead in Cape Town.

The bust resulted in the confiscation of both dried and frozen perlemoen, as well as an unreported quantity of shark fins.

The Sunday Times this week published a story about how the tide of fortune has finally turned in the favour of Martin Blake and a small group of fishermen in Langebaan who are fighting for the right to return to their fishing grounds in the Langebaan lagoon.

DAFF has been ordered by the court to set aside permit restrictions that exclude part of the lagoon. Judge Julian Sher concurred with the fishermen that they had been unfairly discriminated against and ordered the fishing department to come to some kind of compromise.

DAFF spokesperson, Palesa Mokomele said, “We are studying the judgment and its effect and we will engage other departments to determine the way forward. We will thereafter meet the community members.”

Weekly Press Review – 23 October 2015

While the student protests have dominated the South African newspapers, only one small maritime headline managed to surface.

Last week five suspected perlemoen poachers were trapped within the marine protected area of Bird Island in Port Elizabeth.  Three were arrested, but the other two managed to elude the police.

This week a fourth suspect was arrested and according to Police Captain Johan Rheeder will appear in court shortly facing charges under the Environmental Act, as well as possible charges of malicious damage to property as the suspects doused the park rangers boat with petrol in an attempt to secure their escape.

Weekly Press Review – 11 September 2015

The SA Navy’s SAS Umhloti has a new commander.  The press has reported that Lieutenant-Commander Zimasa Mabela took command of the mine counter measures vessel in Simon’s Town this week and is the first black African woman to command a navy vessel.

Commander Brian Short, former commander of the vessel handed over command to Mabela in a ceremony also held in Simon’s Town this week.

Mabela was born in the Eastern Cape and joined the navy in 1999.  In 2004 she completed the Military Training for Officers, followed by the Combat Officer qualifying course and she joined the SAS Isandwana in 2005.

“I remember how excited I was when I first got accepted to be part of the navy.  I am proud to be the first black African woman to command a naval vessel.  But more than the title, I want to be an example to my crew. I want to be judged on my ability to command, and not my gender,” said Mabela.

The press has reported on another whale rescue mission which took place off Cape Point this week.

The SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) was called to the scene and found that the whale has become entangled in four ropes apparently anchored to traps on the seabed.

After a long struggle the team, along with the assistance of the fishing vessel Puffin which came to assist, the whale was freed.

Mike Meyer, of the Department of Environmental Affairs said, “The whale appeared healthy and swam away strongly and we are confident that this operation has been a huge success.”

This is the third whale to be caught in octopus traps in False Bay.

Nan Rice, head of the Dolphin Action and Protection Group and a founder member of the SAWDN said, “We will have to sit down and talk about this. There are going to be more entanglements because there are more whales around, especially humpbacks, which breed every second year.”

It is estimated that an average of 308,000 whales and dolphins are killed each year when they become entangled in fishing gear or marine waste.

Weekly Press Review – 5 December 2014

Recreational deep-sea fishermen celebrated a victory in the press this week with the Pretoria high court advising the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, to reconsider a decision to place a total ban on the catching of red steenbras.

Two years ago red steenbras was placed on the prohibited list, creating a ban on catching.  The Border Deep Sea Angling Association and two other anglers challenged this ban.

The judge ruled in favour of recreational fishermen, saying, “To reach a decision that a total ban is necessary, there must be research indicating that despite the imposed bag limit and closed season, the red steenbras numbers are still declining.  There is simply no such information.”

Concern over rising sea levels has made headlines once again with researchers from the University of California stating that analysis has revealed that the fastest melting part of Antarctica has tripled over the past decade.

Research shows that the melting seems to be speeding up and is irreversible.  The study is the first of its kind, using four measurement techniques to generate and estimate the rate of loss over two decades.

Lead author, Tyler Utterley of UCI said, “Previous studies had suggested this region started to change very dramatically since 1990s.  We wanted to see how different techniques compared.  The remarkable agreement among the techniques gave us confidence we are getting this right.”

The results were released at a global warming conference in Peru.

Weekly Press Review – 25 October 2013

South Africa has made headlines this week as one of the first countries to sign the Minamata Convention. The convention is a new global treaty aimed at phasing out mercury from a wide variety of industrial and household products.

Thus far, 92 countries have signed the treaty which could take another two years to be ratified and ultimately enter into force.

The treaty is named after the Japanese industrial town, Minamata, where thousands of people were poisoned during the 1950s and 1960s by eating fish polluted by the local chemical plant.

It is good to see South Africa leading the charge against the further pollution of our oceans.

The luxury liner, Titanic has made the news again this week over 100 years after its fatal final voyage. To once again prove that people’s fascination with the ill-fated vessel has not waned, a violin that was being played as the ship went down has sold for an unprecedented R1.42bn at a British auction over the weekend.

The violin in question was played by band leader Wallace Hartley. The band continued to play as the ship was sinking in an attempt to calm the passengers. All of the band members died and it is believed that Hartley’s body was discovered with the violin still strapped to his body.

A very sad piece of memorabilia for somebody’s collection.

Identifying maritime leaders

Identifying maritime leaders

Having attended an interesting workshop on maritime leadership as part of the Third International Conference on Strategic Theory; we have decided to try and identify our current and future maritime leaders by asking you to let us know who you feel is championing the maritime agenda in South Africa.

maritime leaders

Weekly Press Review – 24 August 2012

The hate-hate relationship between Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and DA fisheries spokesman Pieter van Dalen has once again be covered in the press this week; with the names of Duncan Hindle, the Minister’s special adviser and Shaheen Moolla of Feike also being thrown into the mix.

All the name calling and petty arguing has somewhat detracted from the fact that the long awaited public protector’s report on the marine patrol tender has been delayed. This is apparently due to the fact that the inquiry has been extended.

Although the delay is disappointing, as it is important to get answers and some kind of closure to the issues, it is also well worth waiting for the results of the enquiry so that all discussion and debate can at least be FACT BASED and not just finger pointing and name calling like badly behaved childern on a playground.

After a long and extremely respectable silence, Smit Amandla Marine has chosen this week to speak. In a statement Smit, widely regarded as the ‘whistle-blower’, has been subjected to months of ‘slanderous unsubstantiated claims about our integrity and business practices.’

Smit has now gone on record stating that they are not a fishing company and nor are they being investigated by the Hawks or any other state authority regarding their management of the Fisheries Department’s research and patrol vessels.

They have gone even further by offering their full co-operation and assistance with any investigation into their business operations – past or present.

This magazine is in the process of organising an actual face-to-face debate between Minister Tina Joemat Pettersson and Pieter van Dalen which will allow the two the opportunity to answer the really important questions in a controlled environment and hopefully get some real answers.

After many years of legal wrangling, the name Arnold Bengis is back in the news this week. After being accused of poaching large quantities of SA rock lobster and Patagonia toothfish, importing them illegally into the US and then selling them at a huge profit, a US judge has ordered Bengis and his son, who was also involved, to pay a record $54.9 million (R450m) in restitution to South Africa.

Marius Diemont, legal representative for SA, said this is ‘ a significant precedent that shows that authorities will go to great lengths to bring people who deal in illegal fish to justice.’

The case against Hout Bay Fishing, headed by Bengis, which started in 2001, is still to be finalised.