Weekly Press Review – 7 November 2016

An 8,000 ton experimental fishing programme has made headlines this week with the government going to court to defend the programme, which according to scientists could have decimated a valuable fishery.

A bid by several large fishing companies was made to have the experimental horse mackerel permit set aside on the grounds that it was illegal and contravened scientific advice.

Fishing associations say that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is now trying to take credit for a settlement setting aside the granting of the experimental horse mackerel fishing permit to Global Pact after it was revealed that the department had conceded to review its decision to allocate an additional 8,000 tons to Global Pact.

The department has said that The South African Deepsea Trawling Industry (SADSTIA) and Midwater Trawling Associations and others abandoned their interdict application.

SADSTA and Midwater Trawling Associations executive secretary Johann Augustyn responded by saying, “This is an attempt to whitewash the whole thing. We did not abandon the interdict. It was agreed by both parties that the interdict would serve no purpose because it was too close to review. It was too close to review because DAFF weren’t ready to present their papers and asked for a postponement.” Augustyn added that they were convinced that the permit had been issued illegally and this was vindicated.

DAFF Minister Senzeni Zokwana’s spokesperson, Bomikazi Molapo responded by saying that the department remained committed to restructuring the horse mackerel industry.

A group of small-scale fishers from Langebaan have made headlines this week as they celebrated a legal victory setting aside a government decision stopping them from fishing for harders in a section of the Langebaan lagoon.

The Western Cape High Court declared the restrictive conditions imposed on traditional fishers by DAFF as arbitrary, irrational and unconstitutional.

Judge Mark Sher, who presided over the matter, has said that it would be inappropriate of him to make an order granting fishers some other right, but urged officials in the departments concerned to please engage with the fishers.

The fishing vessel, the Verano, which caught alight in the Cape Town harbour also caught the press’s attention this week. The vessel has been burning for four days and there are now major concerns regarding oil pollution. On Sunday a special pipe was laid in the water around the vessel in an attempt to stop the oil from moving out of the harbour and into the ocean.


Weekly Press Review – 23 August 2013

It has been a rough week on the maritime front as the press has covered the sinking of the Kiani Satu and the breaking up of the MV Smart in much detail.

After many, many man hours and much individual and agency co-operation, the Kiani Satu was refloated only to ultimately sink after being pulled out to sea by the Smit Amandla.

Fortunately it would seem that pollution was kept to a minimum as most of the oil that surfaced after the sinking was carried away from the coast.

Credit must be given to the 350 individuals from 20 different agencies who worked extremely hard under difficult circumstances to try to save the stricken vessel.

The coal ship MV Smart which ran aground off Richard’s Bay and then broke in two is still a concern on the pollution front; and scientists are currently evaluating the situation.

Also mentioned in the press this week is the rush of teams of scientists and geologists to survey the ocean floor off South Africa’s coast in an attempt to gather information regarding the possibilities for oil and gas exploration.

Some 20 companies are involved in the exploration, including some of the major players, such as: Shell, Anadarko, ExxonMobil and Total.

Let us hope that this exploration and what is to follow is done in a responsible manner and that South Africa gets to to be part of the process as well as the rewards.