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??

Weekly Press Review – 15 November 2013

The big maritime headline of the week was the adoption of the Marine Living Resources Amendments Bill by the National Assembly. The bill was welcomed as a way of transforming the inequalities of the past.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that the legislation would realise her department’s goal of empowering small-scale fishermen and women and the communities that they come from.

Let us hope that that is in fact the case.

The slave ship, the Meermin was back in the news this week as a renewed interest in the vessel and its story have generated a greater public interest in the recovery of the wreck.

Jaco Boshoff, marine archaeologist at Iziko Museums said that there had been many extensive searches for the wreck over the years, but thus far, nothing had been recovered. He added, “At the moment, funding is what is preventing us from completing the search. It is, in a sense, like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Boshoff also admitted that sadly there is a chance that “as the historians state, the wreck does not exist anymore.”

Hopefully that is not the case as it would mean a huge waste of time, effort and money.