During a joint operation between Greenpeace and Guinean fisheries authorities, two Chinese vessels were each fined 250,000 euros (R3.14 million) after shark fins were discovered on board the vessels.
According to the press, a third Chinese vessel was also fined after it was discovered that it was using illegal nets and fishing for species outside of its license conditions.
Numerous shark carcasses were also found on board the vessels, including hammerhead sharks, which are an endangered species.
Greenpeace Africa oceans campaigner Ahmed Diame said, “ What we’re seeing here is an utter lack of respect of west African fishing laws.”
Also making headlines this week are the three UCT scientists who recently returned from a three-month voyage circumnavigating Antarctica aboard the Russian vessel, the Akademik Teshnikov.
The three scientists, Dr Sarah Fawcett, Heather Forrer and Professor Peter Ryan, jumped at the opportunity to join one of the biggest and most ambitious scientific expeditions in history, the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE).
The aim of the expedition was to see first-hand what impact climate change was having on the Southern Ocean and how this affected humans.
“I think that this is going to lead to a lot of really important constraints on how we understand the role of this region in climate,” said Fawcett.
The big headline this week was the news that Kumi Naidoo will be returning to South Africa. The South African born environmentalist has stepped down as Executive Director for Greenpeace, a position he held for over five years and now wishes to turn his attention to environmental issues here in South Africa. Naidoo stated that after living abroad for more that 17 years, he now feels that his homeland needs him.
What a coup for South Africa and the South African environment!
It appears that Robben Island may finally be getting a new ferry service up and running. According to the local press, a new ferry is set to be delivered by the end of the year and its use will be primarily to transport tourists to and from Robben Island. The announcement was made by Sibongiseni Mkhize, executive at the Robben Island museum.
Although the previous ferry, the Sikhululekile was to be sold, plans are now in place to once again repair the vessel and have her ready as back up for the new ferry.
To celebrate its 200th birthday the island of Tristan da Cunha has decided to open up a worldwide competition searching for ideas to assist with development of infrastructure on the island, as well as moving it into the future with a general make over and plans for self sufficiency.
According to the press the competition is open to any design team from around the world as long as they are lead by a registered and practising architect. Entries for phase one must be in by 2 June 2015 and the judges will choose five entries from these to move on to phase two of the development.
Talk about thinking outside the box. Hats off to Tristan da Cunha, let’s hope that the gamble pays off.
Officials in Elands Bay have been battling a severe case of red tide in the area this week. There have been several headlines throughout the week describing how authorities are wading through hundreds of tons of West Coast Rock Lobster which washed up on the beaches in the area. Live specimens were removed, placed in tanks and later relocated to safer waters and the remaining dead animals were taken to local dumps for fear of them being washing back into the ocean.
Red tide is caused by phytoplankton in the water which drastically lowers oxygen levels causing the death of many sea creatures, including West Coast Rock Lobster.
Lionel Adendorf, Director of Communications Services for DAFF was part of the clean-up operation, but also took the opportunity to warn the public that should anyone be found with any of the rock lobster in their possession they would be fined or arrested unless they had the appropriate permit allowing them to fish for West Coast Rock Lobster.
The Costa Concordia also made headlines this week as the captain of the stricken vessel heard his fate in an Italian court room. Francesco Schettino was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the 2012 shipwreck which led to the deaths of 32 people. He was found guilty of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.
Schettino has admitted some responsibility, but denied any blame for the deaths that occurred during the evacuation.
Costa Cruises, the owners of the ocean liner, was also held liable for the accident and was ordered to pay a 1 million Euro fine, as well as 30 000 Euros compensation to each passenger on board and millions of Euros in compensation to the Italian government, the region of Tuscany and the island of Giglio for environmental damage.
The Greenpeace sailing boat, Rainbow Warrior is in the news this week as she docked in Cape Town en route to Port Elizabeth and Durban. The public is invited on board the vessel free of charge this weekend to learn about the activities of the Greenpeace group.