Weekly Press Review – 9 September 2016

The declining numbers of the African penguin have once again made headlines. According to the press, the hardest hit seem to be the young penguins on the west coast where declining fish stocks have resulted in severe food shortages for the penguins in the area.

Since 2004 penguin numbers in the area have declined by a staggering 90 percent says Dr Richard Sherley of the University of Exeter.   Over the last three years Sherley and a group of researchers have been working on a research project focusing on the eating patterns of the African penguin.

Most penguins used the west and south coasts as their main feeding ground, but there is simply no longer food available for these young birds along that particular stretch of coastline.

“Historically this area was full of fish, so one can understand why they moved to this region, but they have been unable to adapt to the changes,” said Sherley.

Unless drastic changes are made to fishing methods in the area, and all along the South African coast, the African penguin population is simply not sustainable.

South African Paralympic swimmer Achmat Hassiem has made headlines this week saying that he is so grateful to the great white shark that bit off half his right leg, adding that he is prepared to devote the rest of his life to protecting these endangered animals.

“I was recently made a global marine guardian by the UN. My forte is sharks – who better to protect them than me? The shark has given me so many opportunities, opportunities to represent my country, to change the world.

“I have become a shark advocate because it is my way of thanking her for giving me everything I have achieved today and it is my way of thinking I am a hero of the world, hence the nickname, Shark Boy,” said Hassiem.

Weekly Press Review – 31 October 2014

Sekunjalo Holdings is back in the press this week with the announcement that the company will be making a R200 million investment in expanding the portfolio of its fishing and aquaculture subsidiary, Premier Fishing.

Premier Fishing has long term fishing rights in South and West Coast lobster, pelagic and squid and is also the owner of Marine Growers in the Western Cape.

The investment will be done through Sekunjalo Investments.

Also making headlines this week was the announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) that as of 15 November the amount of kreef that recreational fishermen may catch will be drastically reduced, along with the time period in which they have to do it.

The announcement was made by Lionel Adendorf, of the Department of Fisheries, stating that the quota for recreational fishermen for the 2014 – 2015 season would be reduced from 83 to 69 tons and the period for fishing would be reduced from 26 to 21 days.

The news has not been well received by recreational fishers or local community fishermen.

In a case of making the best of a bad situation, it has been reported that lifesaver Achmat Hassiem, who was attacked by a great white shark and lost a leg, some eight years ago has joined the fight to protect these beautiful sea creatures.

Hassiem was attacked while swimming with his brother and although he nearly lost his life, the end result was that he lost his leg.  Since then Hassiem has not only gone on to become and extremely successful Paralympic swimmer, but has also become a passionate advocate for the protection of this now endangered species.

He will be speaking at the upcoming UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals in Ecuador.

“It’s my duty to tell people what I’ve gone through.  I believe you can change the world, one person at a time.”

 

 

 

 

 

Shark boy inspires DEA Minister

Sharing the platform at yesterday’s launch of National Marine Week, Achmat Hassiem – aka shark boy – stole much of the limelight as he motivated learners to pursue their dreams. But he also managed to capture the attention of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, who attempted to persuade him to share his motivation with public servants and inspire them in their work.

Achmat survived a harrowing shark attack in 2006. The incident resulted in the loss of one of his lower legs, but failed to see him lose his spirit to pursue his dream of representing South Africa on the international sporting stage. He went on to compete in the Para Olympics and in 2012 won a bronze medal in the pool. He currently holds a number of world records in swimming – and champions the conservation of sharks when he speaks to audiences around the world.

The learners at the function clung to every word of his story as he described, in detail, the terrifying experience of coming face to face with a 4.7 m shark. Tall, muscular, fit and clearly ambitious and driven to succeed, Achmat was also clear in his message that life is to be lived and enjoyed.

Before delivering her keynote address, Minister Molewa spent a number of minutes addressing the shark-boy as he became known in swimming circles. She asked him to leave the international audiences and concentrate on delivering his message to the public servants of South Africa.

It’s clear that she feels our administrators could benefit from his message – and who would not agree that public servants get a little shot of enthusiasm to help them cope with the rigours of their daily work. Achmat certainly helped me aim to peal away a layer of complacency!