Weekly Press Review – 12 June 2017

The state of our oceans has once again made headlines with the worldwide celebration of World Oceans Day this week, forming part of National Environment month.

This year’s theme was Our Oceans, Our Future and Stellenbosch Department of Botany and Zoology associate professor Sophie von der Heyden believes that we can all play our part in attempting to mitigate the effects of pollution.

According to von der Heyden, “ Plastic pollution plays a huge role. By just making small behavioural changes, we can do so much.”

Our ocean water is currently polluted by over 51 trillion pieces of plastic.

“People who live inland seem to have forgotten their link with the ocean, and we need to highlight and educate people in this regard. The ocean is very important to us, especially for maintaining a stable climate,” says von der Heyden.

Acidification, due to climate change, is also a major challenge facing our oceans. The resulting increased carbon dioxide levels in the water have an extremely negative impact on marine life, particularly on marine animals with shells, as shell growth is often inhibited.

Professor von der Heyden also sites overfishing as another area of concern with regard to the health of our oceans.  She urges people to make sustainable seafood choices and make themselves aware of sustainable seafood options.

Weekly Press Review – 10 June 2016

World Oceans Day was celebrated around the world this week. According to the press, a group of scientists and surfers united for the Silence of the Sharks and Paddle Out for Sharks initiative as part of the celebrations.

Events took place at the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast and Seaforth Beach in Simon’s Town. According to Amanda Barratt, Paddle Out for Sharks founder and marine conservationist, supporters paddled 30 metres out to sea and threw flowers into the ocean to show their support for the plight of sharks around the world.

“Up to a million sharks are killed across the planet every year. They sit at the top of the predatory hierarchy and without them the ocean’s system will be out of control,” said Barratt.

Referring to the recent arrest of three Chinese fishing vessels, Barratt added, “In South Africa, our ocean resources are being plundered by foreign fishing fleets. Monitoring, overfishing and the plundering of our oceans is a big problem. Globally by 2050, all edible fish in the ocean will be extinct.”

Also making headlines this week was the sad news that the maritime community had said a sad farewell to Captain Dai Davies last weekend. Captain Davies’ career in South Africa began as a mooring master at the Durban oil buoy for Land & Marine Salvage, which he later headed.

Many members of the maritime community shared their thoughts on Davies’ passing and recalled memories of the kind of man he was.

“He was a true gentlemen – salvor, mentor and friend,” said Captain Nick Sloane. “He never doubted his team’s abilities. His belief in them developed them individually way beyond normal expectations, and his impact on my life and on my development in the marine industry has made me who I am today.”

Weekly Press Review – 13 June 2014

Despite The SA Commercial Line-fish Association (Sacla) opposing the intervention of small scale fishing communities in a main court application for fishing rights allocations, the Western Cape high court this week  granted permission for the Masifundise Development Trust to be included in the application process.

According to local newspapers, the Masifundise Development Trust is representing small scale fishing communities and is determined to have their say and be part of the application brought against former fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her former acting deputy director-general Desmond Stevens.

Last month the Western Cape High Court extended a two-month exemption previously granted to commercial line fishermen until a legal review into last year’s fishing rights allocation process had been completed.

It was at this point that Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that the allocation process would be set aside following the results of an independent audit.

Despite the minster moving on to a new portfolio, it would seems that she cannot escape the fall out of the fishing rights allocation debacle of 2013.  We wait to see what the outcome of this court battle will be.

It was reported in the press this week that the large container vessel the E-Whale has finally left Cape Town harbour. The vessel was arrested two years ago with various debt issues and was recently bought by Pacific Orca Holdings for R646.3 million.  The vessel left the harbour on Saturday on its way to Port Elizabeth and has been renamed Abby.

In environmental news it was reported in several local newspapers this week that a sea turtle with a cracked shell was rescued from the rocks at Rooipan se Klippe near Yzerfontein.  “Assisted by members of the public, our sea rescue crew carried the sea turtle to our rescue vehicle and the Department of Oceans and Coasts was alerted,” said Rudi Rodgers, NSRI Yzerfontein station commander.

The turtle will be treated at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Also in the news this week was the announcement that Singapore has joined China in banning shark fin soup from its exhibition and convention centre menus.  The news was welcomed by wildlife and environmental activists.

World Oceans day was celebrated this week under the theme, “Together, we have the power to protect the oceans.”  To commemorate the day, the United Nations called on the international community to continually work at keeping our oceans healthy and productive and also to try to use the resource with mindfulness, equity and sustainability for the benefit of both current and future generations.

In his message marking the day Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “We have to ensure that oceans continue to meet our needs without compromising those of future generations.  Their depths hold current and future solutions to humanity’s energy needs.”