Weekly Press Review – 14 August 2017

JSE-listed Sea Harvest has acquired a new freezer trawler from listed Icelandic fishing company, HB Grandi. According to the press, the vessel, the MV Therney, was built in Sterkoder yard in Norway.

The group said that there are currently three Sterkoder class vessels in South Africa, two owned by Irvin & Johnson, and one acquired by Sea Harvest in 2014.

Sea Harvest has invested more that R300 million over the past three years in vessel acquisition and factory upgrades to create a world-class asset base.  After listing, the company said that it wanted to pursue growth organically and through acquisitions, in an effort to position itself as a global seafood producer.

In an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille said that in attempt to deal with the water crisis currently facing the Western Cape, some 250 million litres will come from desalination projects. As this infrastructure is not yet in place, a desalination boat, to be parked at sea, is an option on the table in the interim.

Importers, exporters and shipping lines may be faced with an 8 or 9 percent fee increase to use South African harbours.

According to the press, Transnet is holding public hearings in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban to discuss the National Port Authority’s tariff application for 2018/19.

Increasing the availability of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to South Africa, Sunrise Energy officially launched the R1,2 billion LPG plant near Saldanha Bay this week.

According to the press, the first cargo of LPG was received in May from a LPG vessel and William Bopape, plant manager, said that the import point has been extremely busy ever since.

Sailing clubs claim that they are being muscled off government owned land.

According to the press, South African Sailing says that clubs in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay and East London are in the midst of legal action over new lease agreements or are facing eviction or stringent new terms.

The organisation claims that steep rental increases and diminished access to water are threatening development programmes that produce top black sailors.

Transnet National Ports Authority has denied targeting sports clubs, but declined to comment on sub judice matters.

Marine scientists and conservationists have warned that the annual sardine run in Kwazulu Natal could be under threat from both climate change and the impact of fishing.

According to the press, the sardine run generates an estimated R500 million in tourism for the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast and is being impacted by increased ocean temperatures.

Marine conservationist, Lesley Rochat says, “What we do know for certain … is that the world’s oceans are undergoing rapid and regionally specific warming as a result of climate change.”

“Climate change must be addressed in order to preserve marine life, including the sardines,” says Rochat.

Weekly Press Review – 31 July 2017

This week Parliament’s portfolio committee on public works will conduct oversight visits to six harbours in the Western Cape, hoping to gain insight into the management of small harbours by the Department of Public Works.

According to the press, the harbours that will be visited are: Struisbaai, Arniston, Gansbaai, Gordon’s Bay and Kalk Bay.

In June the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) slowed the City’s plan to take control of some local harbours, citing the council’s proposed by-law for fishing harbours could not supersede the Marine Living Resources Act.

The City has responded by saying that it has no choice, but to forge ahead with its plans, and that it has the power to manage harbours in its jurisdiction.

A fisherman died after suffering a seizure on board a chokka fishing boat off the Eastern Cape coast over the weekend.

According to the press the NSRI responded to the incident.

“On arrival NSRI medics were put aboard the vessel and confirmed that the fisherman was deceased,” said NSRI Francis Bay station commander Sarah Smith.

Friday saw the return of millions of sardines from the Indian Ocean – an event which has not been seen for almost five years.

According to the press, each year during the southern hemisphere winter months throngs of fish lovers gather at the Kwazulu-Natal coastline in anticipation of the “Sardine Run.” In recent years the volume of fish has slowed quite dramatically, but early signs are that the great Sardine Run has returned.

Last week the maritime industry lost the highly respected old salt Captain Bill Damerell. Cape Times contributor, Brian Ingpen, said, “A giant cedar in the shipping industry has fallen.”

Our thoughts are with Captain Damerell’s family and friends.

Weekly Press Review – 24 July 2015

The sardines are back! The good news for fishermen was covered in the press this week as large catches of sardines along Durban’s beach front caused much excitement.

For more than five years sardine catches have been unsuccessful in the region, but this week large numbers of sardines were spotted along the South Coast, as fishermen scoured the waters between Blue Lagoon and uShaka Beach.

Seasoned fisherman, Tony Outar Moon, said, “The sardines were in deeper waters in the past few years.  It is hard to predict where they will show up next.”

The SA Agulhas II has embarked on its latest research expedition.  According to the press this week the vessel left Cape Town harbour on Tuesday to carry out a 25-day research expedition in the Southern Ocean.  The research will be taking place in three main research areas:  the third Southern Ocean Seasonal Cycle Experiment, South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation South Africa and the Southern Ocean Trace Metal and Bio Geochemistry.

There has been a focus in the press this week on the uncertain future of the South African penguin.  Although there has been some stabilisation in bird numbers, this is no reason to allow for complacency.

According to Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) spokesman, Zolile Nqayi, the department has set several goals to ensure the future of the African penguin.  These include ensuring that the birds continue to be regarded as a protected species and the department is looking into the possibility of establishing new bird colonies in areas where there is more protection and more food readily available.

Weekly Press Review – 12 June 2015

After extremely slim pickings over the last two years the Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board is hopeful that there will be a marked improvement in sardine catches along the Durban coast, the press reports this week.

Good catches have been reported near Umgababa which will increase the likelihood of more shoals off Durban soon.

An aerial monitoring flight by the Sharks Board showed many small pockets of sardines and  the board also reported that five nets of about 80 crates of sardines had been successfully caught by the seine netters.

“After two years of no sardine runs, it looks very promising that we will have a better run this year.”

Members of the Hout Bay Residents Association remain, understandably,  up in arms at the City’s application to discharge effluent into the Atlantic Ocean.

Since 2009 it has been mandatory for coastal municipalities to apply for a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit.  The City is in the process of finalising its application for sea outfalls at Hout Bay, Camps Bay and Green Point.

In a letter to the City, Len Swimmer, Chairman of the Hout Bay  Residents Association said that the association takes the situation in Hout Bay very seriously.

“What we need is a proper sewage treatment plant with digesters that are capable of biodegrading the sewage.”