Weekly Press Review – 31 July 2017

This week Parliament’s portfolio committee on public works will conduct oversight visits to six harbours in the Western Cape, hoping to gain insight into the management of small harbours by the Department of Public Works.

According to the press, the harbours that will be visited are: Struisbaai, Arniston, Gansbaai, Gordon’s Bay and Kalk Bay.

In June the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) slowed the City’s plan to take control of some local harbours, citing the council’s proposed by-law for fishing harbours could not supersede the Marine Living Resources Act.

The City has responded by saying that it has no choice, but to forge ahead with its plans, and that it has the power to manage harbours in its jurisdiction.

A fisherman died after suffering a seizure on board a chokka fishing boat off the Eastern Cape coast over the weekend.

According to the press the NSRI responded to the incident.

“On arrival NSRI medics were put aboard the vessel and confirmed that the fisherman was deceased,” said NSRI Francis Bay station commander Sarah Smith.

Friday saw the return of millions of sardines from the Indian Ocean – an event which has not been seen for almost five years.

According to the press, each year during the southern hemisphere winter months throngs of fish lovers gather at the Kwazulu-Natal coastline in anticipation of the “Sardine Run.” In recent years the volume of fish has slowed quite dramatically, but early signs are that the great Sardine Run has returned.

Last week the maritime industry lost the highly respected old salt Captain Bill Damerell. Cape Times contributor, Brian Ingpen, said, “A giant cedar in the shipping industry has fallen.”

Our thoughts are with Captain Damerell’s family and friends.

Weekly Press Review – 31 January 2014

Hout Bay harbour was in the headlines this week as angry fishermen blockaded the harbour on Wednesday and Thursday in protest as two local fishermen were feared drowned.

Locals said that informal fishermen were forced to fish at night, which is far more dangerous, as they had no fishing rights.

Anthony Theunissen, a local fisherman, said that people in his community had been fishing for generations and knew no other way of life.  He added that the protest was aimed at closing the harbour’s economic activity.

The fishermen want not only fishing rights, but are calling for transformation within the fishing industry.

Fisheries branch spokesperson, Carol Moses expressed the department’s regret at the loss of life.

Amendments to the Marine Living Resources Act are currently before government.

Surely, there is some positive way forward for these local fishermen who are asking nothing more than the chance to feed their families and make a living?

The SA Agulhas featured briefly in the news as the vessel made a stop alongside the ice of Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean to deliver equipment required for the island’s new communications station.

Another impressive vessel in the news this week is the Queen Mary 2.  Fans of the world’s largest ocean liner, will have been delighted as the vessel sailed into Table Bay Harbour for a two day visit.

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for Tourism, welcomed the vessel saying that cruise ships brought more than 10, 000 visitors to the Western Cape annually generating more than R200 million for the economy.   He also stated that he was looking forward to the development of a dedicated cruise liner terminal.

We shall wait and see.

The controversial Australian shark culling policy has made headlines again this week with the killing of the first shark caught in the bait lines off the Australian coast.  The shark, a 3m female tiger shark was caught in the lines and shot by a contracted fisherman.

Needless to say, and quite rightly so, local environmental activists are outraged by the killing and a large public backlash is expected.  Western Australian State Premier, Colin Barnett, is standing by the decision, saying that the safety of beach goers is the ultimate aim.

The programme is only on trial for a two month period.  Let us hope that someone in charge comes to their senses and looks at a more environmentally friendly option – perhaps something similar to the exclusion nets in use in False Bay??