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.

Weekly Press Review – 30 August 2013

The MV Smart is still in the press this week as efforts to transfer oil from the bulk carrier, which ran aground off Richard’s Bay, are underway. According to the Department of Environmental Affairs: “At the moment, no oil spill from the vessel has been reported. As part of a contingency plan, containment booms have been deployed around the vessel to protect the coastline against any possible pollution during the salvage operations.”

Let us hope that the salvage operation runs smoothly with no damage to the marine environment.

The Kiani Satu also remains in the news this week with the owners going to court to try to establish what caused it to run aground and ultimately sink off Knysna. An official inquiry is set to begin next week.

“Shark warrior” Lesley Rochat made headlines this week as she is set to complete a shark free-dive with Capetonian and one of South Africa’s top surfers, Frank Solomon, in Durban next week. Rochat is an award winning film maker and conservationist and free-dives with sharks in an attempt to change public perception of these creatures as dangerous predators.

Rochat is a woman on a mission. It is nice to see a positive female role model really getting out there and making a difference in the ongoing conservation battle.

Now – who wants to go stage a sit in with the perlemoen and rock lobsters in an effort to protect them?