The World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) says that West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) stock levels are now at an all-time low and could spell the end of the lone for the fishery.
According to the press this follows the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) decision on the 2017/18 fishing season that the total allowable catch would remain unchanged.
John Duncan, WWF-SA marine programme senior manager, said it was deeply concerning, adding,”This fishery is a critical source of income and livelihood for many small-scale fishing communities in the Western and Northern Cape. Historically one of South Africa’s most commercially important fisheries, it has declined dramatically over the last 50 years as a result of overfishing to the point where it is now facing the very real threat of commercial extinction within the next five years.”
The share price of South Africa’s largest fishing company, Oceana Group, plunged nearly 14 percent on Friday after it reported that its profits in the year to September had plunged nearly 50 percent.
According to the press the shares on the JSE later in the day recovered to close 6.10 percent down at R80.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has made headlines this week with the announcement that Commander Tsietsi Mokhele has resigned as CEO with immediate effect.
The press have reported that no further information has been provided by SAMSA regarding the resignation of Mokhele or his future plans. Operational head, Sobantu Tilayi will be stepping in as acting CEO.
Also making headlines this week is the news that three more Chinese vessels illegally navigating South African fishing waters have been arrested. The vessels were arrested after a combined operation between SANDF, Department of Fisheries and SAMSA.
The three captured vessels were escorted to the East London harbour by the the navy supply vessel, the SAS Drakensberg and fisheries inspection vessel Sarah Baartman.
The captains of the three vessels appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and the case was postponed for further investigation until 16 June. The crew have to remain in port aboard their vessel until the matter is settled.
The Oceana Group has also made headlines this week with the sale of their Lamberts Bay Foods to JSE-listed Famous Brands. Lamberts Bay Foods was established in 1995 by Oceana as a social responsibility project and has subsequently matured into a viable commercial operation.
Sea Harvest has made headlines this week with the launch of their new share scheme which will see the company issuing more than 4 million shares to its employees.
The company, which is owned by Brimstone Investment Corporation and Kagiso Tiso Holdings, regards the 4.3 million shares as an extension of it empowerment and shareholding for employees.
Sea Harvest executive chairman Fred Robertson said, “In celebrating 20 years of existence, Brimstone has endeavoured to assist in the growth and development of all subsidiaries and this share scheme does exactly that.
“We are very proud of our employees and it is imperative that the company’s success positively impacts them, their families and the surrounding community.”
Another fishing company making a difference in the community this week is the Oceana Group. It was reported in the press that the company has taken on the rehousing of nine Hout Bay families who lost their homes over two months ago in a fire.
After an appeal by the Hout Bay Civic Association, Oceana stepped in to assist with the building of several new fire-resistant houses. The families affected by the fire will be moving in this weekend.
Avril Raatz who lost all her possessions in the fire said, “I am so excited. I would like to thank Oceana and the Hout Bay Civic Association for making this happen.”
Oceana Group has made headlines this week with the news of the company’s purchase of US-based Daybrook Fisheries for an estimated R4.58 billion. The purchase is in line with the company’s diversification strategy.
Daybrook reported R1.3bn in revenue last year with the sale of 76,862 tons of fishmeal and fish oil.
Keith McLachlan of Alpha Wealth said, “Oceana’s made a bold move into the American fishing industry ….. interesting asset, though still just a commodity.”
Also making headlines this week was the sad news of the passing of Murray Grindrod senior. Grindrod was the grandson of Grindrod Group founder John Edward Grindrod.
He joined Grindrod Gersigny in 1957 and stayed with the company for a total of 50 years, serving as chairman for 21 of those years. It is with a heavy heart that the maritime community says goodbye to one of its greats. Grindrod was 79 years of age.
Brian Ingpen wrote in in his column this week,” With that vast experience, his amazing achievements and his own inherent wisdom, his was a highly respected voice that gave valued counsel on a range of maritime issues. His dignity and personal integrity will remain the company’s cornerstones. In Dockland, a giant cedar has fallen.”