Weekly Press Review – 31 October 2016

 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has issued a provisional list of 126 fishing communities, but press reports state that small-scale fishers are adamant that they will appeal the list.

DAFF small-scale fishers director, Craig Smith, said that many traditional fishers do not have permit records to substantiate their claims as small-scale fishers, adding that DAFF elected to involve communities in the verification of community fishers as part of the prescribed small-scale fishing regulations.

“The department does not know the community members to decide whether they meet the small-scale fisher criteria or not. Hence DAFF requested community members to elect community panel members to assist DAFF with the verification of fishers,” said Smith adding that in many cases community members were excluded by their own elected panel.

According to Smith the list is likely to increase with the assessment of appeals and after all appeals have been thoroughly assessed, the department will announce a final list of successful small-scale fishers.

A new research trip to Marion Island has made headlines this week. A team of more than 50 scientists from South Africa and abroad will join the Russian research vessel, Akademik Tryoshnikov, for a plankton study on the island later this year.

It is hoped that the study will reveal why there is not more life in the nutrient rich Southern Ocean.

UCT oceanographer Sarah Fawcett said that the ship leaves Cape Town on December 20 and the study will cover everything from biodiversity and whales to bird life, interaction between winds, waves, currents and ice and the problems a caused by plastic pollution.

The City has launched a Shark Spotters app aimed at enhancing beach safety this summer.

According to the press the Shark Spotters app provides water users with current and accurate shark safety information on their smartphones, giving beach-goers the opportunity to make informed decisions on shark risks before arriving at the beach.

“We believe the Shark Spotters app will be an essential beach safety and information tool for all water users in Cape Town during the upcoming beach season. This app will provide keen surfers and swimmers with specific information about their favourite beach spots even before they travel to them,” said Mayco member for energy, environment and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe.

The Antarctica’s Ross Sea has been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). According to the press the announcement, which was made at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, is regarded as a victory and historic moment in the history of conservation.

The move marks the first time that a large-scale MPA has been established on the high seas.

Weekly Press Review – 30 September 2016

Small-scale fishers have voiced their displeasure at the 2015 regulation forcing them to form one co-operative per community.

According to the press this week the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is insisting that each community be allowed to form only one co-operative.

Speaking at a national workshop organised by the Masifundise Development Trust, Oliver Schutz said, “This regulation is forcing people to have one co-operative. We do not know how much is going to be in the basket. This will further reduce their fishing rights.”

DAFF small-scale fisheries director, Craig Smith says that marine resources are limited and therefore cannot support the proliferation of co-operatives, that was why only one co-operative per community could be allowed under the new regulation.

Trust spokesperson Nosipho Singiswa said that fishers are still waiting for DAFF to complete the identification, verification and registration process and then decide on appealing the regulation and fishing rights.

This week saw the HMS Portland sail into Durban harbour. The Type 23 frigate, part of the British Royal Navy, made headlines as the eighth ship to bear the name and the 15th and penultimate ship of the “Duke” class of frigates.

Also making headlines this week was the 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17), which took place in Sandton, Johannesburg.

For the first time the European Union (EU) is participating as a full member of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), seeking stricter international measures against wildlife trafficking in line with the EU action plan on wildlife trafficking.

The conference is aimed at providing a forum for parties to review the implementation of the Cites convention, which covers more than 35,000 plants and animals, ensuring that trade remains legal, traceable, and sustainable.