Weekly Press Review – 20 March 2015

Forensic report findings reported in the press this week have described the policy regarding small scale fisheries as ambiguous and contradicting the National Development Plan.

These findings were revealed by a forensic report carried out by Emang Basadi Legal and Forensic Services and commissioned by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to review the work of the fisheries branch.

The report stated:  “Allegations of departmental interference are common and in some cases likely to be true.  Currently it is perceived that only some individuals are benefitting.”

More damning evidence against a process that has been fraught with problems from day one.

Meanwhile, also featured in the press this week are the discussions taking place between the ministers of fisheries, environment and transport to establish a single and co-ordinated structure to manage the fisheries research and patrol vessels.

DAFF minister, Senzeni Zokwana said, “In some instances we have been found wanting in the processes.  We will look at a possible well co-ordinated process by which all three departments can have one structure that manages them.”

The press has also assisted in promoting the South African Navy Festival taking place in Simon’s Town this weekend.  With 12 national and international navy vessels to be seen, as well as dog shows and live music, there is guarantee to be something for everyone.

“The reason we hold this festival is to present our work and ships to the public,” said Lieutenant Leverne Benjamin.

Weekly Press Review – 28 November 2014

The plight of local fishermen has made headlines again this week with frustrated fishermen from Western Cape coastal towns delivering a memorandum to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) demanding the issuing of immediate interim relief permits.

Coastal Links SA, who represent approximately 4,000 small scale fishermen from various coastal towns, and its secretariat, Masifundise Development Trust released a joint statement, saying, “Deep and enduring problems with the interim relief system are playing havoc with the lives of thousands of people.”

“The late issuing of permits, the inclusion of non-fishermen in beneficiary lists and general mismanagement by the department deprives fishermen of sustainable livelihoods and is causing conflict.”

The addition of military support in the war against perlemoen poaching has also made headlines this week with troops now patrolling poaching hot spots in Buffeljagsbaai and Hawston in the company of fisheries officials.

Chief joint operations officer Lieutenant-General Derrick Mgwebi said, “We have a responsibility to protect the maritime resources of South Africa. We do this in co-operation with the SAPS, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), communities and others involved.”

A self-confessed poacher, not named, said, “People are going hungry because they are too scared to poach while the army is around.”

Japan’s plans to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean have once again made headlines.  Tokyo cancelled its Antarctic hunt earlier this year after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the decades-old hunt should stop.  The decision was based on an attempt to pursue more sustainable whaling.

Japan has long claimed that most whale species are in fact not endangered and that eating whale meat is part of the country’s food culture.

Pollution along the beach at Melkbos is a hot topic in the press this week as rate payers in the area struggle to keep the beach clean.  Public negligence and ignorance seem to be the main contributors to the ongoing problem as beach-goers simply do not discard their waste correctly in the bins provided.  The result is that over a ton of waste is collected from only 12 city beaches each month.