Weekly Press Review – 10 April 2015

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.


Weekly Press Review – 24 October 2014

The Robben Island ferry, Sikhulukile is back in the press this week with the news that Robben Island may be forced to sell its R26 million flagship which has been out of service since December 2013.

The Robben Island Museum has spent more than R5 million on repairs since December 2011 and almost R2.6 million on hire costs for substitute boats.

Quinton Mtyala says, “The Robben Island Museum has mandated the museum management to explore the possibility of disposing of Sikhulukile.”

The fisheries department and rock lobster quotas have once again made headlines this week with the news that the department have drastically reduced this season’s rock lobster catch limit by just under 17 percent.  The reduction is aimed at assisting the recovery of the drastically overfished stocks.

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), spokesperson Lionel Adendorf said that all stakeholders had been consulted and had accepted the reductions.  However, the recreational rock lobster sector are not as happy with the decision, saying that the 17 percent cut is over and above an already drastically reduced limit.  In addition they have only been given 21 days in which to catch their kreef.

Also covered in the press this week was the start of the fourth naval exercise between South Africa, Brazil and India that took place in Simon’s Town.  The operation forms part of a 2003 agreement between the navies of these three countries designed to promote “South-South dialogue”.  Defence co-operation has been identified as an area of “constructive engagement.”

Rear Admiral Thamsanqua said, “The aim of the exercise is to provide collective training for Brazilian, Indian and South African navies, building mutual understanding between the navies.”

A University of British Columbia study featured in the press this week states that ongoing industrial fishing practices are causing a revolution in the world’s oceans.  Mankind’s ever growing appetite for large fish, such as tuna and shark, has allowed smaller fish, such as anchovy and sardine to flourish.

The decline in predators has allowed the smaller fish to reproduce and increase stocks for generations to come. However, the news is not all good according to lead author of the research paper, Professor Villy Christensen.  Changes in the ocean’s population are upsetting the balance of nature.  The decline in large fish species means a decline in predators which results in an unnatural increase of other populations.

A little slice of history has also made headlines this week, with the discovery of a graphic notebook from the ill-fated Antarctic expedition of Robert Scott.

The notebook was discovered trapped in the ice outside Scott’s 1911 Terra Nova base and belonged to scientist George Murray Levick.

The notebook is now in the care of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust and each page is being individually preserved.  The trust is working on the preservation of five exploration sites used by Ernest Shackleton, Edmund Hilary and Robert Scott and the notebook will be added to the collection.