Weekly Press Review – 19 February 2018

The Two Ocean Aquarium is back in the news this week with its turtle rehabilitation and release programme.

The programme cares for a number of injured turtles with the hope of restoring their health and releasing them back into the ocean as soon as possible.

At present the aquarium is caring for a young hatchling (Hatchling No 31), a loggerhead turtle who is not quite ready for release, but is receiving massage and exercise in order to strengthen his front flippers.

Newcomer Koda is also doing well after being rescued at Eskom Koeberg Nature Reserve and brought to the aquarium covered in barnacles.

Other turtles under the care of the aquarium include Moya, recovering from a large wound to his flipper and Bob and Sandy recovering from a propeller wound and loss of eyesight due to eating plastic respectively.

We thank the staff at the Two Ocean’s Aquarium for all their efforts, but the reality is that all these incidents could have been prevented.  Surely it is time for those using our oceans to become more aware of who they are sharing the marine environment with.  Our marine animals are suffering due to our disregard for, not only their natural environment, but for the very environment that we depend for our survival.



Weekly Press Review – 5 February 2018

Minister Senzeni Zokwana is exploring alternate remedies to resolve the appeals filed by applicants for Hake Inshore Trawl fishing rights – without litigation.

According to the press, a statement will be issued within the next 15 days to update members of the public and the fishing industry on progress made in resolving the review applications.

The release of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) by the Two Oceans Aquarium also made headlines this week.

The sunfish, named Holy Moly, was rescued by aquarium staff in December 2017 after it became trapped in the V&A Waterfront harbour. The fish has been cared for at the aquarium since, but after careful observation of its behaviour lately, it was felt that the fish was ready for release.

The ocean sunfish is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation and in South Africa alone over 340,000 are killed as by-catch annually.

Weekly Press Review – 22 January 2018

A group of top US maritime business students are visiting South Africa’s major shipping centres this month. According to the press, the aim of the visit is to learn from the local industry and explore the cultural complexity of the global maritime industry.

The event is hosted by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and the visiting students, from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, are accompanied by their South African lecturer, Dr Portia Ndlovu.

“The global maritime family is expanding all the time and it is vitally important to understand the different cultures that may be encountered,” said Dr Ndlovu.

SAIMI spokesperson, Samantha Venter said, “Being able to support professional development and share our advances with international visitors is a big part of putting the African maritime sector on the global map.”

Also making headlines this week is the news that the proposed international listing of South African private freight and logistics group, Grindrod, has been delayed due to differences in legislation in the countries where it plans to list.

In a statement Grindrod said that work is continuing and based on current timing estimates the Grindrod board aims to make its final determination on the proposed international listing in the early part of 2018.

The annual 2018 South African Navy Festival has been cancelled due to insufficient funds.

According to the press, SA Navy spokesperson, Sam Khasuli said, “The organisation is beset with the dwindling of yearly budget allocations.”

The decision to cancel the festival allows the SA Navy to commit its depleted budget to the core business of defending and protecting the South African maritime zone.

Police officials arrested five suspects in possession of abalone with an estimated value of R3.6 million this week.

According to the press, the five suspects, aged between 22 and 26, have already made a court appearance to face a charge of illegal possession of abalone.

Also making headlines this week is the Two Oceans Aquarium battle against deadly single-use plastic straws, which find their way into our oceans.

Aquarium spokesperson, Renee Leeuwner said, “Hundreds of billions of plastic straws are used globally, damaging ecosystems, killing wildlife and contributing to the pollution of our atmosphere.

“Straws are not recyclable. Animals can mistake straws for food, which can lead to their deaths.”

The aquarium is addressing the issue through its “Straws Suck” campaign, saying that giving up straws is an ideal start and listing alternatives to the plastic straw as bamboo, glass, stainless steal and paper straws.

Weekly Press Review – 16 October 2017

This week Armscor confirmed plans to buy a new torpedo system for its Heroine-class submarines to replace the existing ageing stockpile.

According to the press, it is unclear how many new-generation torpedoes will be purchased (at an estimated cost of R60 million each), but news of the acquisition coincides with a military budget crisis, with the navy unable to afford vital offshore patrol vessels. The government has also delayed a massive shipbuilding programme, Projects Hotel and Biro, which would create thousands of jobs.

“The value to the country of a torpedo weapons system is minuscule compared with building a ship,” said one arms industry insider.

Earlier this year naval chiefs confirmed severe operational challenges stemming from a R5 billion cut in military spending across the army, air force and navy.

Despite the fact that two major perlemoen poaching syndicates have recently appeared in local magistrate courts, the business of perlemoen poaching remains rife in the Western Cape.

According to the press the police arrested three individuals in possession with approximately R30,000 of perlemoen this week.  The men will appear in court shortly.

South Africa and Mozambique are developing more gas pipelines in order to meet the increasing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in both countries.

According to the press, Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Augusto de Sousa Fernando told delegates at the International Gas Co-operation Summit in Durban that demand had increased over the last 13 years. He added that South Africa had an opportunity to benefit from the development of LNG in the future by joining other countries in the region.

As part of National Marine Week WWF-Sassi has reiterated its message that whether we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a meal of fish and chips in the future depends largely on the choices that we, as consumers, make today.

Sassi has compiled a list of the status of various fish. Each year this list is reviewed and species are added, removed or have their status changed, according to various species assessments.

Two Ocean Aquarium communications and sustainability manager, Helen Lockhart said, “Teaming up with SASSI this Marine Month provides a great opportunity to take the sustainable seafood message beyond the Aquarium and to focus on informing and empowering consumers during this month.”

Weekly Press Review – 18 September 2017

The partial sinking of the chartered Robben Island ferry, Thandi, on Friday afternoon has made headlines this week.  According to the press, the vessel began taking on water while returning from the island and the 68 passengers and crew on board had to be rescued.

Senior manager of ferry operations at the Robben Island Museum (RIM), Sandresan Thandroyan, said, “Robben Island Museum is conducting its own internal investigation. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) will also be conducting an investigation. RIM will support them throughout the process.”

The vessel has since been towed to Murrays Bay Harbour and stabilised.

Disgruntled fishers stormed the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) offices on the foreshore this week demanding the immediate suspension of the West Coast Rock Lobster fishing rights allocation process.

According to the press, local fishers want the West Coast Rock Lobster offshore allocations shifted from big companies to near shore and small-scale fishers.

The group, representing 10 fishing organisations, including the Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust, Kleinmond Integrated Fishing Forum and Mitchells Plain Fishing Forum, also demanded an immediate meeting with Minister Senzeni Zokwana and other senior officials to address the challenges faced by fishing communities in the area.

Premier Food and Fishing has changed its name to Premier Fishing and Brands Limited.

Chief executive Samir Saban said, “The name change ushers in a new and exciting era for the company following its successful listing earlier this year.”

As part of the International Coastal Clean-up Day started in 1986, the Two Oceans Aquarium invited Capetonians to be part of the 12 million volunteers worldwide and spend two hours picking up litter on Milnerton beach this Saturday.

According to the press, the event included a puppet show for children after the clean-up and volunteers were asked to download the Clean Swell app allowing them to become citizen scientists by tracking their clean-up achievements and at the same time provide valuable data to the Ocean Conservancy’s research data.

Weekly Press Review – 4 September 2017

With the Western Cape facing an ongoing water crisis, two major companies are looking at desalination options for the V&A Waterfront.

According to the press, Growthpoint Properties and PIC (the Public Investment Corporation), equal joint owners of the V&A Waterfront, are investigating the feasibility of establishing a desalination plant to mitigate the risk to their investment caused by Cape Town’s water shortage crisis.

“The city would probably be keen for us to do something like that. We haven’t quite worked out all the risks, all the pros and cons and have to go through the process.

“But certainly in terms of supplying our own needs, we are looking at it pretty seriously at the moment,” says Norbert Sasse, chief executive of Growthpoint.

Also making headlines this week is the announcement that South Africa will host the 10th summit of the Brics bloc in 2018, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Addressing the Brics Business Forum, President Jacob Zuma said that South Africa welcomed attendees of the forum to visit South Africa, saying that South Africa is a new frontline of growth and prosperity and that the country expected to realise inclusive economic development and further increase its trade with other Brics countries.

The Two Oceans Aquarium was involved in an unusual rescue operation this week. According to the press, aquarium staff rescued an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) from the Robertson Dry Dock next to the aquarium and released it back into the harbour at the V&A Waterfront.

The rescue operation involved several staff members from the Two Oceans Aquarium, and thanks to the help of Summit Crane Hire and H&I Construction, the team was able to airlift the sunfish out of the dry dock and back into the harbour.

Weekly Press Review – 17 July 2017

Progress has been made in the fight against abalone poaching with the police confiscating illegally poached abalone in two different Western Cape locations this week.

According to the press, police arrested two suspects in connection with the operating of an illegal abalone processing facility on a farm in Brackenfell.  In a separate incident, 213 bags of frozen abalone, weighing approximately five tons, were found in a cold storage truck in Montegu Gardens on the same day.

Police spokesperson, Andre Traut, said, “The exact value of the abalone confiscated during the two operations is yet to be determined. However, it is estimated to be several million rand.”

The Two Ocean Aquarium in Cape Town is once again putting its weight behind the banning of the single-use plastic bag. According to the press, the Aquarium is supporting the EcoBricks awareness campaign, created in an attempt to offer an alternate solution to the use of plastic bags, which so often contribute to the multitude of plastic polluting our oceans.

The EcoBrick is a “brick” made from plastic two litre bottles. The idea is to encourage the public to form the habit of stuffing paper and plastic (particularly single-use plastic bags) into the bottles. When the bottle is full it can be dropped off at various pick up points around the city.  The bottles are then used as building materials to create sustainable homes, schools and furniture.

July has been proclaimed Plastic Free July and the Aquarium has called for a complete ban on single-use plastic shopping bags in South Africa through its Rethink the Bag campaign.

Eight fishermen remain missing after their vessel capsized at Cape St Francis over the weekend.

According to the press one fisherman died in the accident, five wee rescued and eight remain missing after an extensive air, sea and shoreline search by the NSRI.