Weekly Press Review – 10 October 2014

The ongoing perlemoen crisis has made headlines again this week with a study pointing to the fact that ever-depleting perlemoen stocks are primarily due to increased levels of organised crime, drug dependency and poverty in smaller South Africa communities.

The study was conducted by TRAFFIC and 25 years of lawful and unlawful trade in perlemoen formed the basis for the research. The study found that extreme poverty and drug dependence have led to people in small fishing villages turning to perlemoen poaching as a means to gain income.

Most of the perlemoen eventually finds its way to markets in Hong Kong.

Also reported in the press this week is the annual right southern whale survey that is taking place along the coast between Muizenberg and Nature’s Valley at present.

The survey is conducted annually by the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute.  Researchers Ken Findlay and Meredith Thornton are about half way through this year’s survey.  Each whale that they spot is recorded, all cow and calf pairs are recorded and photographed and whales with distinctive brindle markings are also photographed.

The data that is collected is analysed to provide information regarding population abundance, growth rates, survival, calving intervals and age.

The “green seafood” movement has made headlines again with a report published by WWF-SA’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative revealing that the 10 retailers signed up to their programme has shown on average a 30 percent improvement in selling and sourcing sustainably harvested seafood.

The report stated that, “shifts in consumer patterns had triggered a reaction from retailers who began to look for more sustainable suppliers to meet the changing consumer demand.”

Iziko Museums were also in the news  with their focus on marine heritage.  Marine heritage will be celebrated with a week-long programme entitled:  Discovering the Deep:  past, present and future.

National Marine Week is celebrated annually and its aim is to bring awareness to the marine and coastal environment, as well as to promote the sustainable use and conservation of all marine resources.

Shark boy inspires DEA Minister

Sharing the platform at yesterday’s launch of National Marine Week, Achmat Hassiem – aka shark boy – stole much of the limelight as he motivated learners to pursue their dreams. But he also managed to capture the attention of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, who attempted to persuade him to share his motivation with public servants and inspire them in their work.

Achmat survived a harrowing shark attack in 2006. The incident resulted in the loss of one of his lower legs, but failed to see him lose his spirit to pursue his dream of representing South Africa on the international sporting stage. He went on to compete in the Para Olympics and in 2012 won a bronze medal in the pool. He currently holds a number of world records in swimming – and champions the conservation of sharks when he speaks to audiences around the world.

The learners at the function clung to every word of his story as he described, in detail, the terrifying experience of coming face to face with a 4.7 m shark. Tall, muscular, fit and clearly ambitious and driven to succeed, Achmat was also clear in his message that life is to be lived and enjoyed.

Before delivering her keynote address, Minister Molewa spent a number of minutes addressing the shark-boy as he became known in swimming circles. She asked him to leave the international audiences and concentrate on delivering his message to the public servants of South Africa.

It’s clear that she feels our administrators could benefit from his message – and who would not agree that public servants get a little shot of enthusiasm to help them cope with the rigours of their daily work. Achmat certainly helped me aim to peal away a layer of complacency!

 

Three new vessels to be launched in National Marine Week

National Marine Week kicked off in Cape Town this morning when the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa, addressed a small audience of learners, invited guests and media. It was the first in a number of maritime-related functions in our calendar this week that includes the launch of three new vessels in Durban and Cape Town.

  • On Wednesday Sea Harvest will name their newly acquired R130 million vessel, the Atlantic Peace where Chairman Fred Roberston and CEO Felix Ratheb will officiate the proceedings.
  • Nautic Africa launches their 35 m Sentinal on Thursday in the Cape  Town harbour and invited guests will be treated to a little spin in the multi-role crew and patrol vessels.
  • Smit Amandla Marine will launch the latest addition to their fleet in Durban on Thursday.  The Sibanye linerunner has been in production at the SA Shipyards facility and will receive a formal welcome.

That’s a lot of nautical flavour for a week that is aptly named and perhaps speaks to the pronouncements that the government is making around the blue economy. Minister Molewa touched on the importance of Operation Phakisa this morning too – and affirmed that the results of the Ocean Lab deliberations held in Durban recently will be announced shortly.

She added that the Department of Environmental Affairs has been tasked to lead the blue economy initiative and that the focus will be on sustainable economic and social development.

We are still collecting feedback from the industry on Operation Phakisa. <CLICK HERE> To complete our quick survey on the initiative.