Weekly Press Review – 5 June 2017

Making headlines this week is the record sentence handed down to four men found guilty of running an abalone syndicate.

According to the press, the four men involved were sentenced to a combined 127 years in prison by the Khayelitsha Regional Court on charges of exporting of abalone, processing of abalone, possession of abalone, as well as fraud and money laundering.

Spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha said, “It is believed to be a record sentence as far as abalone is concerned.”

Also making headlines this week is new, state-of-the-art software that enables researchers to distinguish dolphin calls so clearly that they can be identified based solely on their whistles.

The technology, passive acoustic monitoring (PAM), is frequently used across the globe, but until recently has not been used to monitor dolphins in southern African waters.

Dr Simon Elwin, of the University of Pretoria, was one of the researchers involved in the project to employ the software to identify three different dolphin species found along the southern African coast, with excellent results.

The software, known as PAMGuard, achieved an 87.3 percent success rate in identifying the three specified dolphin species. The information gathered will be used to boost archives with basic data on call repertoire and vocal characteristics of local dolphins.

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Weekly Press Review – 15 May 2015

Eskom power outages are affecting a fish processing facility in Philippi the press reports this week.  Viking Fishing is one of nine Philippi industries who were without power for several days after Eskom’s repair teams were chased away by people apparently trying to protect their illegal electricity connections in the Marikana informal settlement nearby.

Tim Reddell of Viking Fishing said that his company had been forced to truck fish into the city in an attempt to keep it frozen.  The problem seems to be that thieves took advantage of load shedding on Saturday and stole the main supply cable.

“I don’t think people realise how bad this whole power thing is.  We can manage the two-hour load shedding, but not 48 hours.

“So what must I do?  I have 256 people employed here, must I send them all home?  We put the factory here so that we could be close to where the staff live, but now I am starting to question that idea,” said Reddell.

Xolani Joja, Marikana community leader, said that he had recently been out of the province and was, therefore, not aware of the matter.

According to the press, a group of Orcas in False Bay are being mobbed by over-enthusiastic sightseers, causing unnecessary stress to the animals.

People are using groups of powers boats and jetskis in an attempt to get as close as possible to these beautiful creatures.

Word travels fast via social media when the Orcas are in the area and loads of people enter the water, boxing in the animals and placing them, as well as the dolphins in the area, in an unnecessarily stressful situation.

The law states that boats may not get within 300 metres of any whale, however, there is a loophole in this case as Orcas are categorised as dolphins and not whales and the law, therefore, technically, does not apply.

Environmental Affairs Department spokesman, Zolile Nqayi said that the department was looking at ways to address these compliance issues and that this would most likely have to take the form of amendments to the existing legislation.

Weekly Press Review – 14 March 2014

In a week where the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has dominated every news outlet,  there has been little attention paid to anything else.

However, two heart warming maritime stories did manage to make this weeks headlines.  A dolphin duo, trapped in shallow water in the Langebaan Lagoon, were rescued thanks to the joint efforts of local rescuers and bystanders.

The two dolphins were spotted by kite surfers and, with the assistance of Wildlife Rescue in Kraal Bay as well as the national Sea Rescue Institute Mykonos,  were transported to the open water near Jutton Island.

As both dolphins seemed to be in good health and swam away confidently, experts are satisfied that they will survive the ordeal.

The SPCA also made the news this week after rescuing a young seal pup spotted heading up a canal towards a local kelp processing plant.  Factory employees in the area spotted the pup and called the SPCA who transported it back to Seal Island in a dog crate.  It is suspected that the pup’s mother left the island to gather food and the unattended pup simply swam off.

SPCA inspectors Gareth Petterson and Megan Reid were confident that the seal would be reunited with its mother as each pup has a unique call, which its mother would instinctively recognise.