Weekly Press Review – 20 November 2017

The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) says that West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) stock levels are now at an all-time low and could spell the end of the lone for the fishery.

According to the press this follows the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) decision on the 2017/18 fishing season that the total allowable catch would remain unchanged.

John Duncan, WWF-SA marine programme senior manager, said it was deeply concerning, adding,”This fishery is a critical source of income and livelihood for many small-scale fishing communities in the Western and Northern Cape.  Historically one of South Africa’s most commercially important fisheries, it has declined dramatically over the last 50 years as a result of overfishing to the point where it is now facing the very real threat of commercial extinction within the next five years.”

The share price of South Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana Group, plunged nearly 14 percent on Friday after it reported that its profits in the year to September had plunged nearly 50 percent.

According to the press the shares on the JSE later in the day recovered to close 6.10 percent down at R80.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Weekly Press Review – 13 November 2017

Yet another perlemoen bust has made headlines this week, this time in the Mfuleni area where 5,553 perlemoen were discovered in 55 bags with an estimated value of R1 million.

In a separate incident a tip-off  led to the arrest of five people found in possession of perlemoen with an estimated value of R3.5 million. This included the equipment used by the suspects in the Mfuleni incident.

A total of 4,645 interested parties and residents from Langebaan in the Western Cape have signed a petition requesting that plans for an aquaculture plant in the Langebaan lagoon be abandoned.

According to the press, the planned aquaculture project, over an estimated 884 hectares in the town’s lagoon, is part of the government’s Operation Phakisa and is driven by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as private investors.

Jennifer Kamerman, spokesperson for Save the Langebaan Lagoon Action Group (SSL), says that the proposed area for the aquaculture development is predominantly used by small-scale fishers. The development will deny this community the right to fish in the lagoon.

“These people earn a living from the fish that they catch here,” says Kamerman.

SSL has said that they are not against aquaculture development in the area, but feel that it should be an inland development, not on the coast, and definitely not in the lagoon.

Weekly Press Review – 6 November 2017

Transnet is distancing itself from the kickbacks scandal currently rocking the state-owned rail and logistics group. According to the press, the scandal includes allegations that some of its suppliers paid third parties millions of rands in order to win tenders.

Chief executive, Siyabonga Gama said, “These allegations are made against Transnet suppliers, where it is alleged that some of them, such as SAP, McKinsey, CSR and Liebherr-Africa, were paying commissions to third parties after securing contracts with Transnet.

“We have requested these companies to indicate to us if any past or current employees of Transnet requested that they pay any kickbacks to them or any third parties.”

The Hawks arrested two people in connection with abalone poaching and seized R5 million worth of abalone in Brackenfell this week.

According to the press, spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said that police arrested the suspects at a house doubling as an illegal abalone processing facility.

The suspects appeared in the Kuilsriver magistrates court during the week.

Two more suspects from Caledon were also arrested this week in possession of abalone with a street value of R5 million.

Also making headlines this week was the announcement by seafood group Sea Harvest that the company’s Australian subsidiary, Mareterram, had acquired two mackerel licence packages comprising of an established fishing fleet and support vessels for A$9 million (R53 million).

Weekly Press Review – 31 October 2017

 Transnet has instituted a group-wide investigation into its contracts and suppliers amid the rampant allegations of rent seeking and kickbacks at state-owned companies.

 According to the press, chief executive Siyabonga Gama said that the company was dealing with allegations of wrong-doing in its contracts, insisting that the problem was not about Transnet governance processes or integrity, but about suppliers.

According to the press this week, there is a growing optimism about the potential of Africa’s oil and gas development, given the sustained increase in crude oil prices.

Speaking at the open session of the 24th Africa Oil Week conference, held in Cape Town last week, Energy Minister David Mahlobo said, “This bodes well for many of the continent’s economies that had suffered when there was a downturn in commodity prices.”

Also making headlines this week is a statement from Premier Fishing and Brands saying that it would continue to grow its business both organically and through acquisitions in the future as it sought to diversify its portfolio.

“We will continue to grow our business organically and by acquisition, as well as focus on the expansion of our product basket to meet our customer’s demands,” said chief executive Samir Saban.

According to the press, despite the fishing season officially beginning on October 1, the delegated authority, Siphokazi Ndundane, has yet to determine the global rock lobster total allowable catch (TAC) for the commercial offshore and near-shore, small scale and recreational sub-sectors.

The Collective representing thousands of small-scale fishers from coastal near-shore fishing sectors says that the system used to allocate West Coast rock lobster fishing rights remains skewed and does not benefit small-scale and near-shore fishers.

Spokesperson for the fishers, Pedro Garcia, says, “When they eventually finalise the allocation for the TAC for the rock lobster, it will be percentages and not kilos. This will not address the imbalances in a system that still only caters for the commercial companies and keeps the indigenous and traditional fishers marginalised.”

Garcia added that the collective still felt that the best solution at this point would be to suspend the current allocations and implement interim relief for a period of three years.

Weekly Press Review – 23 October 2017

Small scale and near-shore fishers walked out of a meeting in Cape Town with deputy-director for fisheries, Siphokazi Ndudane, this week, stating that her explanations relating to the suspension of the West Coast rock lobster fishing rights allocation were not sufficient.

According to the press, a range of issues were raised at the meeting. Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust spokesperson said, “We are asking for Ndudane and the minister to postpone the proposed reductions (of fishing allocations) on the rock lobster and stop the offshore allocations of commercial companies.

“The new fishing season starts next month and we have been waiting weeks for them to provide us with answers.”

No agreement was reached between the fishers and the department with Ndudane saying that legislation could only be changed through the courts.

The press has reported this week that listed chemicals and energy group Sasol’s saleable production for the first quarter of the company’s current financial year increased by 22 percent, compared with the same year.

Small-scale fish production projects may be in jeopardy due to a proposed ban on catching indigenous freshwater fish in the Western Cape for everyone except some private landowners.

According to the press, the ban, proposed by CapeNature, is aimed at conserving species that are being wiped out by hungry invasives such as trout and bass.

The Department if Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), says that CapeNature has no right to impose the ban as all policy decisions rest with the national government.

The department is in the process of developing a policy on inland fisheries intended to empower rural communities to participate in equitable, sustainable resource use.

Due to the ongoing water crisis in the Western Cape, for the first time in history, ships calling in Cape Town are no longer allowed to fill up with fresh water.

According to the press, within the last week Transnet has confirmed a ban on the sale and supply of drinkable fresh water to all vessels calling at Cape Town – urging vessels to fill up further along the coast.

Transnet says, “While it is conceded that these measures may have a negative impact on some business components, so dire is the situation in the city that the port is resolute in its decision in the interest of basic survival of all who have to live in the region.”

This weekend the 17th Annual Cape Town International Boat Show took place at the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press, hundreds of boating enthusiasts descended on the harbour and had the opportunity to marvel at the workmanship of both local and international manufacturers of yachts, catamarans, speed boats, paddle boats and accessories.

Weekly Press Review – 16 October 2017

This week Armscor confirmed plans to buy a new torpedo system for its Heroine-class submarines to replace the existing ageing stockpile.

According to the press, it is unclear how many new-generation torpedoes will be purchased (at an estimated cost of R60 million each), but news of the acquisition coincides with a military budget crisis, with the navy unable to afford vital offshore patrol vessels. The government has also delayed a massive shipbuilding programme, Projects Hotel and Biro, which would create thousands of jobs.

“The value to the country of a torpedo weapons system is minuscule compared with building a ship,” said one arms industry insider.

Earlier this year naval chiefs confirmed severe operational challenges stemming from a R5 billion cut in military spending across the army, air force and navy.

Despite the fact that two major perlemoen poaching syndicates have recently appeared in local magistrate courts, the business of perlemoen poaching remains rife in the Western Cape.

According to the press the police arrested three individuals in possession with approximately R30,000 of perlemoen this week.  The men will appear in court shortly.

South Africa and Mozambique are developing more gas pipelines in order to meet the increasing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in both countries.

According to the press, Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Augusto de Sousa Fernando told delegates at the International Gas Co-operation Summit in Durban that demand had increased over the last 13 years. He added that South Africa had an opportunity to benefit from the development of LNG in the future by joining other countries in the region.

As part of National Marine Week WWF-Sassi has reiterated its message that whether we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal of fish and chips in the future depends largely on the choices that we, as consumers, make today.

Sassi has compiled a list of the status of various fish. Each year this list is reviewed and species are added, removed or have their status changed, according to various species assessments.

Two Ocean Aquarium communications and sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart said, “Teaming up with SASSI this Marine Month provides a great opportunity to take the sustainable seafood message beyond the Aquarium and to focus on informing and empowering consumers during this month.”

Weekly Press Review – 9 October 2017

The Robben Island Museum (RIM) has made headlines again this week rejecting reports that its ferry service is operationally inadequate saying “it is business as usual”.

RIM briefed the provincial standing committee on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture regarding the incident relating to the tourist ferry, Thandi, which capsized last month.

Committee chairperson Beverley Schafer said the ferry service was “operationally inadequate” to transport passengers.

RIM chief executive Mava Dada said, “We are supporting the SA Maritime Authority with their investigation. Our own internal investigation is also underway to identify any possible blind spots.

“Tourists and guests to RIM are assured that it is business as usual.”

This weekend saw the 29th annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet festival at the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press the festival is a cultural appreciation and fundraising event packed with all thing Portuguese.

Event co-ordinator, Alberto Goncalves, said, “The event is held to bless the boats and fishermen who go out to sea each year and has become somewhat of a social event. It is also held as a fundraising event for Portuguese welfare.”

The SA Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) successfully completed their farthest disentanglement operation this weekend.

According to the press SAWDN managed to free a 14 metre humpback whale entangled in rope over 40 nautical miles offshore of the Southern Cape coast.

Along with the National Sea Rescue Institute Plettenberg Bay (NSRI), the SAWDN arrived at the scene and found a juvenile whale anchored to the seabed with fishing rope around its tail.   The animal was freed and all lines were recovered.

SAWDN spokesperson Craid Lambinon said, “The cutting operation took 20 minutes. We are confident that the operation has been successful and the whale appears to be healthy.

“This is the farthest out to sea that a SAWDN operation has been conducted.”