Weekly Press Review – 29 April 2016

As we face the reality of ever declining numbers within the African penguin population, this week South Africa joined the world in celebrating World Penguin Day.

According to the press the number of African penguins has dropped from over 1 million pairs in the 1920s to a current population of just under 20,000 breeding pairs.

There are still many obstacles to the growth of African penguin populations. These include: pollution, habitat degradation, food shortages, climate change, human disturbance and predators. The African penguin is listed as ENDANGERED.

In response to the endangered status in 2013 the Department of Environmental Affairs and a group of experts from various organisations formed the first national Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the African penguin.  Actions within this plan are carried out by two different working groups:  the Population Reinforcement working group and the Habitat working group and the groups are made up of representatives from various organisations, including:  Cape Nature, BirdLife SA, and SAN parks, to name a few.


Weekly press review – 15 April 2016

The local Shark Spotter project has made headlines this week by winning the Gold Innovation Award in the Best Beach Tourism category at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016.

The judges stated that Shark Spotters won as it combined enhancing safety and education on beaches.

Project manager, Sarah Waries, said, “Working together with the City, we have created a holistic, socially and environmentally responsible initiative that protects beach tourism, the local economy and the environment from the negative repercussions of shark bite incidents.”

“We are very pleased that they (Shark Spotters) have been acknowledged for their valuable and innovative efforts in responsible beach tourism, including the implementation of the shark exclusion net, which benefits our beachgoers,” said Mayco member for energy, environment and spatial planning Johan van der Merwe.

Weekly Press Review – 8 April 2016

The maritime industry celebrated excellence this week with the South African Maritime Industry Awards hosted by Maritime Review Africa. Making headlines this week was the win for Brian Ingpen who won in the Maritime Maestro category.

The category recognises individuals within the maritime industry acting as ambassadors to promote development of the industry in a manner above and beyond their job description. 

 Lawhill Maritime Centre head Debbie Owen said, “Ingpen has, through his selfless dedication and remarkable vision, helped to establish the Lawhill Maritime Centre as a role model for schools-based maritime education in South Africa and the world.”

In response to his win Ingpen said, “ I am grateful for the award and this is a team effort from a number of people. It’s been an honour to be involved in something that is working very well.” 

 A find of R1.2 million worth of abalone on an Intercape bus also made headlines this week. Officers, acting on a tip-off searched the bus and found approximately 600kg of abalone hidden in boxes.

JP Smith, mayco member for Safety and Security said, “We hope the Hawks and SAPS urgently investigate the bus company.”

Intercape has issued a statement saying that management had been made aware of the incident.

Weekly Press Review – 1 April 2016

An amendment to the Marine Living Resources Act now allows small-scale fishers to form co-operatives.  According to the press a group of approximately 100 fishers gathered in Langa this week to register a co-operative.

The hope is that this system will allow fishing communities to benefit with the formation of co-operatives.

However, the general feeling amongst local fishers is that there is little hope of this new system actually working. “You cannot grant a permit to someone who lives in Johannesburg because he is a commercial fisher instead of a traditional fisher like me.  You are inviting poaching.

“How do I live without fishing as it is the only trade I have known my whole life.  I will go to the sea at night and steal,” said 67-year old traditional fisher Bhekumzi Mhlongo.

According to Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) small-scale fisheries management director, Craig Smith, Langa was the first of 280 communities in the country to register for co-operatives.

After registration it will be determined how many of these fishers meet the selection criteria.  They will then be assisted by DAFF to apply for small-scale fishing rights in November.

“We want one small-scale fishing co-operative per community,” said Smith adding that DAFF hoped to create a fundamental shift in its approach to the small-scale fishing sector.

The Two Oceans Aquarium has asked people to be on the look out for baby loggerhead turtles washing up on local beaches.  According to the press between April and June each year juvenile loggerhead turtles wash up along the Western Cape coast, particularly at Struisbaai and Yzerfontein.

Last year the aquarium rescued and rehabilitated a record 200 turtles and they are hoping to achieve the same success rate this year.  They have asked beachgoers to please not return the young turtles to the water, but rather to pick them up and deliver them to the Two Ocean Aquarium or any other local animal rehabilitation centre.

They do not need to be kept wet as they are often suffering from hypothermia.  Aquarium spokesperson, Renee Leeuwner, asks that people keep the young turtles warm and dry and deliver them in a container with ample air holes.  It is also important to note where exactly the turtle was found.

These young turtles can take over a year to rehabilitate




Weekly Press Review – 18 March 2016

Indonesian authorities have made headlines this week with the bombing of a Nigerian-flagged vessel wanted internationally after years of illegal toothfish poaching.

According to the press the vessel was seized by the Indonesian Navy in late February. Yesterday the vessel was bombed in an attempt to send a strong message to would-be poachers entering Indonesian waters.

The Viking was one of six vessels, named the Bandit 6, known to be illegally catching toothfish in the Southern Ocean. The vessel, along with five others, was closely followed by NGO the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society who alerted authorities when the Viking entered Indonesian waters.

Fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti said, “This is to serve as a deterrent to others. You may go freely in the rest of the world, but once entering Indonesian waters this is the consequence.”

The Two Oceans Aquarium and the seals of Cape Town have a new hero. According to the press, Two Oceans Aquarium specialist technician, Vince Calder, takes to the waters of the Cape Town harbour at 7am each morning to check on the safety of seals in the harbour area. His check includes making sure that none of the seals have been caught in fishing lines or plastic bags.

Over a two-year period, Calder has come to the aid of over 20 seals. “Each day that I don’t discover a seal in distress due to fishing line or plastic is a good day,” says Calvin.

Calvin says that we can all make a difference by starting with one small act in our homes. Before you throw away any plastic bags, simply cut the handles of the plastic bag to make sure that it does not get caught around the head of an unsuspecting seal. “Cut a loop, save a life” is the aquariums motto and one we can all easily adopt as our own.

Weekly Press Review – 11 March 2016

According to the press, ship repair facilities have been earmarked as important areas for growth within the Operation Phakisa framework.

According to Sipho Nzuza, TNPA harbour manager Cape Town, Cape Town harbour is regarded as an important area for the application of Operation Phakisa initiatives. This includes ship repair work, shipbuilding and oil and gas services. Areas receiving immediate focus are the Syncrolift at the V&A Waterfront and both the Sturrock and Robinson Drydocks.

At the recently held African Ports Evolution conference in Durban, TNPA announced that R2 billion would be allocated towards improvements in ship repair facilities over the next five year period and an estimated R13 -15 billion towards new repair facilities at harbours across the country.

Weekly Press Review – 4 March 2016

The big maritime news this week is the announcement of plans to create a new 70,000km2 network of marine protected areas.

According to the press the plans include:

  • expansion of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s sea boundaries in Kwazulu-Natal,
  • a new protected area off the Thukela River,
  • a new shark and fish sanctuary off the Protea Banks on the south coast and
  • expansion of the Aliwal Shoal protected area.

Details of the new marine protected areas (MPAs) have been published in a 336-page notice in the government gazette by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Although the declaration of these new expanded MPAs should be celebrated, it is important to note that they are in response to the present situation of collapsed sea fish stocks and increasing exploitation of oceans worldwide.

Conservation group WWF’s response to the announcement has been positive, but they have cautioned that it is essential to ensure that there is adequate budget, staff and enforcement capacity to ensure the proper running of these protected areas.

Zolile Nqayi, Environment Affairs spokesman, said that the new proposed MPAs had been identified through the presidential project Operation Phakisa.