South Africa’s battle against illegal fishing given support by Norway

Norway to help set up a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Port Elizabeth: 06 June 2016


South Africa’s battle against illegal fishing on its oceans is to receive a further boost in Port Elizabeth today where the Norwegian government will formally sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) for the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy – to be known as a FISHFORCE.

Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape on Monday.

The agreement signing later this afternoon was confirmed by Norwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Tine Skymoen at the start of a two day seminar at the coastal city on the establishment of a national maritime cluster for South Africa to support the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.

The seminar that began early Monday and is scheduled to end on Tuesday afternoon, involves a number of thought leaders on maritime economic development from South Africa and Norway.

The list of participants include Prof Malek Pourzanjani, CEO, South African International Maritime Institute; Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General, Department of Environmental Affairs; Mr Dumisani Ntuli, Department of Transport; Mr Howard Theunissen (Faculty of Engineering, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Dr Yona Seleti, Chief Director, Department of Science and Technology; Mr Collins Makhado (South African Maritime Safety Authority)

Also on the list are Professor Mike Morris (University of Cape Town  PRISM), Professor Justin Barnes (BMA), Mr Peter Myles (NMMC); Prof Nick Binedell (Strategy, GIBS), Mr Mthozami Xiphu of SAOGA, Mr Mike Hawes of SAAR, Ms Vanessa Davidson of MIASA, Mr Louis Gontier of AIMENA and Mr Sobantu Tilayi Acting CEO, SAMSA.

From Norway the list includes Ms Anne Lene Dale, Director for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ing Alf Egil Jense, (Science & Technology Counsellor, Dr Aase Kaurin (Research Council) Mr Svein Fjose, (Menon Economic), and Dr Kristin Wallevik, (Dean, University of Agder).

Seated during the start of a two-day seminar on strategies for a national maritime sector cluster in Port Elizabeth on Monday morning are from Left: Norwergian ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen, Prof Patrick Vrancken of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, acting CEO of the South African Maritime Safety Authority SAMSA) and Ms Judy Beaumont, deputy director of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

With the theme of the two-day seminar at the Dolphin’s Leap Conference and Events Centre in Humewood given as  “Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy – Exploring opportunities towards a national maritime cluster”; over two days the group will share ideas and thrash out possible strategies for development of coordinated multi-stakeholder structures to help advance South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme.

In her brief remarks during the opening of the seminar, Ms Skymoen said whenever Norwegian and South African politians and officials met, the Blue Economy and Operation Phakisa were always on top of the agenda and on the basis of which much high level cooperation had developed.

IMG_0297The support to be offered South Africa through FISHFORCE, she said was deriving from this. She described the initiative with the NMMU “as a contribution towards fighting fisheries crime. “

“We will this afternoon sign a bilateral agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on support to the establishment of a Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy at NMMU, called FISHFORCE.

“Through FISHFORCE we will be able to more successfully investigate and prosecute criminals engaged in fisheries crime. This will benefit not only South Africa, but the region and eventually also beyond the continent.”

According to Ms Skymoen, 70% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans, with South Africa and Norway sharing a few commonalities in terms of their geographic positioning as largely maritime countries.

“The Oceans are a vital source of resources and wealth, but we take much less use of them than one might expect their size.

“Internationally, though, there is a growing awareness that the oceans, if managed sensible, represent immense resource wealth and offer potential for economic growth, employment innovation and food security,” she said.

She said the potential for growth was huge as according to the OECD, the blue economy could double by 2030 reaching over three trillion US dollars, with much of that growth projected in subsectors that include acquaculture, offshore wind, fish processing and shipbuilding and repairs.

“Blue economies are fundamental for Africa’s development and prosperity. Thirty nine (39) countries have a combined coastline of more than 47 000km, More than 90% of Africa’s trade is seaborne. Fishing contributes to the food security for more than 200 million Africans. Vast oil and gas potential lies off the coast. In order to unlock the potential, African countries need to develop ocean industries by advancing the role of the private sector and regional integration,” said Ms Skymoen.

Further updates to follow….


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