World Maritime University (WMU) leader and academic, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry visited South Africa for a week last week and apparently left very impressed with the progress being achieved in relations between her Malmo, Sweden-based educational institution and South Africa.
Dr Doumbia-Henry whose meetings in the country – from Sunday to Wednesday last week – began with senior government officials, among them Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, Transport Minister Ms Dipuo Peters and her deputy, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and later leaders of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Transport Education and Training Authority (Teta); said she was particularly impressed by the contribution now being made by dozens of local officials and maritime sector experts who achieved their post graduate education in maritime at the WMU over the last few years.
On Tuesday, she’d spent the better part of the day with at least about a dozen of the WMU alumni at SAMSA’s head office in Pretoria, and during which meeting the group – all of whom work for SAMSA – shared their work experiences and insights back in the country since their graduation in Malmo over the last few years. The meeting was also attended by a group of SAMSA senior management representatives as well as the DoT director, Ts’episo Taoana-Mashiloane
In an interview with this blog, The 10th Province shortly thereafter, Dr Doumbia-Henry was full of praise about the nature and level of the graduates involvement in programmes intended to enhance the rapid yet sustainable development of the country’s maritime economic sector inclusive of environmental protection of the ocean space, safety of personnel in the sector, the upholding of laws relevant to the ocean spaces as well as research and innovation.
She confirmed that she was in the country to strengthen relations with both Government – which has been the main supporter and contributor to the annual dispatch of South Africans to WMU since 2012 – as well as tidy up mutual bilateral relations with education and training institutions such as the NMMU, SAIMI and related; and leaders of the first two, Professor Derrick Swartz and Professor Malek Pourzanjani whom she spend some considerable time with between Sunday and Wednesday.
In the following video, Dr Doumbio-Henry fully outlines the purpose of her visit as well as her impressions of the country.
A week ago Tuesday, more than 200 people from South Africa and Norway’s maritime economic sector gathered in a conference room of the Dolphin’s Leap leisure and entertainment centre on Port Elizabeth’s beachfront to share ideas towards a possibly suitable strategy for establishment of a national maritime economic sector cluster for South Africa.
Among them were senior government officials inclusive of the Department of Environmental Affairs – the lead State department on Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy), the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Science and Technology; thought leaders from academic institutions including the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, researchers from independent institutions and industry leaders in the country’s maritime economic sector.
Also present were provincial Eastern Cape government authorities, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council as well as local business leaders inclusive of members of both the Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) and Durban maritime clusters.
Discussions at the forum took two forms; themed speeches and panel discussions interspersed by questions and answers from attendees,
A week ago this blog highlighted some of the key issues raised and discussed, and in this report (because you do not have two days of time to listen to it all!) we present you a virtual experience of discussions of some of the issues in audio and video formats.
To take you back to some of interesting topics covered, Click Here
R50-million over five (5) years for new academic centre for fight against illegal fishing in South Africa
Port Elizabeth: 07 June 2016
The Norwegian government on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth for establishment of an academic centre at the university that will be devoted to studies and strategy development contributing to the fight against illegal fishing in South Africa and globally.
The agreement involves a R50-million funding over five years provided by the Norwegian government to help establish a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishering as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.
The agreement was signed by Dr Sibongile Muthwa, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the NMMU and Ms Trine Skymoen, the Norway ambassador to South Africa.
For a five minute view of the historic agreement please Click Here
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.
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).
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.
The 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.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) dedicates its Resource Centre to former executive in recognition of her sterling contribution to development of country’s maritime economic sector.
Pretoria: 22 April 2016
The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) wound down a period of mourning with a moving tribute to its former executive and highly recognized figure in the country’s maritime and tourism sectors, the late Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo, at its head office in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The official 40 days of mourning having ended a few weeks ago, on Wednesday, the organization bestowed an honour of remembrance on Ms Nhlumayo by naming a section of its office building, a resources space and library located centre of the ground floor of the multi-story building, parallel the main entrance, in her name.
A section of the dedicated library and resources centre, fairly modest in size, features among other things, memorabilia items inclusive of a series of Ms Nhlumayo’s photos of meetings, media engagements, tours and conference addresses in South Africa, the rest of the African continent and the rest of the world; tribute messages packaged in book form and frames, as well a .collection of her own books and writings
Ms Nhlumayo (40), an Executive Head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence, a division largely responsible for SAMSA’s discharge of responsibilities attaching to its third legislative mandate – the promotion of South Africa’s maritime interests – passed away on 11 February 2016 after a gutsy battle with cancer.
Her death has been mourned across both the public and private sectors inclusive of educational institutions associated with the maritime economic sector in South Africa and abroad.
At the time, the Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal born Ms Nhlumayo; widely recognized for what’s described as a massive contribution towards particularly the country’s tourism and maritime economic sectors, with passionate focus on skills development, had just been conferred the esteemed “Business Leader of the Year Award 2015” by the Institute of People Management in addition to several other awards she’d earned for her dedication and focus to her work.
She was in the process of completing her doctoral studies in maritime economy with the World Maritime University based in Sweden – an institution in which she’s almost single-handedly also helped place more than 100 South African students also pursuing Masters and Doctoral level studies in the maritime field.
At this week’s brief and almost casual ceremony, and to which both her family members and her friends, as well as former associates of varied occupations were invited along with SAMSA executives and staff members, SAMSA CEO Commander Tsietsi Mokhele noted that it was the first time ever that the organization had bestowed such an honour to a past employee.
It has arisen after much deliberation, and during which it had been deemed appropriate as relevant to and in recognition and acknowledgment of the massive contribution Ms Nhlumayo had made both to the country as well as the organization and for which SAMSA was recognized with a ‘Legends of Empowerment and Transformation’ award at the 2016 Oliver Awards a week ago.
Mr Mokhele said the decision to honour Ms Nhlumayo, deliberated upon and agreed with staff; was undertaken on the one hand as a gesture of goodwill primarily to indicate and illustrate the importance for institutions and society at large to openly, honestly give recognition to contribution made by others, especially such contribution as having clearly impacted positively the lives of others.
On the other hand, Mr Mokhele said the gesture of a 40 day mourning period would now be standard for all other SAMSA employees as both an incentive and empowerment tool encompassing the inculcation of a culture of high work ethic in their respective areas of specialization.
He said organizations across various sectors of society were not independent of the people that worked in and for them, and whose work should never require little more than tolerance indicative of detachment.
“Among ourselves as management and staff, we said the new standard for SAMSA going forward would be that, in the event of the passing on of any one of our colleagues, the 40 days of mourning will stand, and it’s now up to all people who are here (at SAMSA) to make sure we don’t spend 40 days of mourning without remembering anything about a person. We want to spend the 40 days just reflecting about their own contribution for its high worth value, and that is the challenge we are all now sitting with, arising out of the contribution of one individual.
“I do not know how practically it’s going to be, but I do know that we’ve challenged ourselves strongly so that we can build a much more humane organization, and it arises out of the memory of one individual. That to me is a living legacy that makes people passionate and view things from many dimensions over a much longer period of time.”
Mr Mokhele revealed that the steering committee of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University was also considering giving recognition to Ms Nhlumayo’s contribution and was currently weighing up ideas. At its next meeting in about two weeks’ time, the committee might take the matter forward possibly with some concrete plans.
For Mr Mokhele’ edited remarks as well as visuals of the ceremony on Wednesday afternoon click here:
Meanwhile, several guests applauded SAMSA for the initiative, with a consensus view that it was deserving of Ms Nhlumayo’s memory.
Eastern Cape steals national limelight on progress of South Africa maritime economic sector development
Port Elizabeth: 08 April 2016
The Eastern Cape province asserted its lead in the stakes for the country’s maritime economic sector revival when Government used the region on Friday (08 April 2016) as the host of the country’s inaugural national progress report on the implementation of Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy).
Flanked by no less than five Cabinet Ministers along with some Members of Parliament, representatives of the Eastern Cape provincial government led by their Premier, and Nelson Mandela Metro local government council led by its Mayor; President Jacob Zuma used the port of Port Elizabeth on Friday to give a most comprehensive and first formal public report of progress achieved to date since launch of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) program in 2014.
Even as dire the current economic conditions, Mr Zuma sounded highly optimistic but especially about the both the progress being achieved as well as its positive outcomes in the not so distant future.
South Africa’s economic growth is predicted likely to grow by no more than a percentage point in 2016, or less; due to factors emanating from both internally and globally, and that recovery may be a year or three away.
However, while this might point to a gloomy economic picture in the short term, it was no reason for pessimism in the medium to long term as the situation also presented a golden opportunity for investment in sectors lacking concentration, among them the country’s maritime economic sector, long neglected until about half a decade ago.
Prior to his taking the podium almost two hours later than scheduled at the eleventh hour, under a mega marquee that housed as many as 10 000 people, erected at length east to west to counter the notorious PE wind, and yet barely 20 meters from the seashore in the industrial area of the port of Port Elizabeth dominated by the dusty mounds of manganese ore and a foul smell of kerosene from megaliter storage tanks of liquid fuel – a set of features of the port long at issue will local residents and business – the Cabinet Ministers, Directors-General, and some leaders of State Owned Enterprises in his tow; sought to unpack the story from early morning.
In the lead under the blinding lights of national television cameras was Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe; followed in no particular order by fellow Cabinet Ministers that included Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa; Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana; Minister of Public Enterprises, Ms Lynne Brown as well deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, and who were ably assisted by Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masaulle as well as the Mandela Bay metro council leader, Dr Danny Jordaan.
Theirs was largely confined to a national television audience hosted by SABC2 Breakfast Show anchored by Leanne Mannas, thereafter by the SABC News Channel boxed in the pay television network, DStv, the latter which also carried live the President’s report from lunch-time.
Prior to Mr Zuma’s main delivery of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) progress report, the Government delegation led by Transnet officials at the National Ports Authority were taken on a tour of the harbour for a view of various new upgrades and particular infrastructure developed to expand business investment opportunities in the maritime economic sector in the region.
These included a new jetty slipway, as well as a new 90 ton boat hoist for boat repairers said to be only the second of its kind in the country. The entourage also boarded and toured a new a multi-million rand worth tug named Tug Mvezo, delivered from Durban only a few days earlier. The tug is named after the village near Mthatha recognized internationally for being home to global statesman, South Africa’s first president under the democratic dispensation, Nelson Mandela.
With the inspection and tours having taken longer than anticipated, Mr Zuma finally arrived at the mega marquees to a thunderous applause of song and dance from a crowd of people officially said to have touched the 10 000 people mark, and rendered rather most colourful by the dominant yellow, green and black colour attire made up of ANC T-shirts with a mixture of ANC leaders’ faces including Mr Zuma.
It was not inconsistent.
The Port Elizabeth metro (encompassing Uitenhage, the seat of German carmaker, Volkswagen; and nearby Dispatch, a town in between) is named after Nelson Mandela and its Main Street is now known as Govan Mbeki – in honour of one of the stalwarts of the black liberation struggle, and father to Mr Mandela’s successor as country president; Mr Thabo Mbeki.
The audience for Mr Zuma on Friday also varied by age, from the youngest – several below the age of 10 years old and some of whom momentarily lost contact with their minders – to the reasonably old; and a number of whom also occasionally dozed off in the contained steamy heat of the sun and sea made no less uncomfortable by the indifferently tight walls of the giant marquees.
With children losing contact with their minders in a decidedly irritating frequency, Programme Director, Mr Mlibo Qhoboshiyane – a member of the Eastern Cape provincial government responsible for Local Government and Traditional Affairs; at one point threatened to have ‘locked up’ any parent whose child was found to have lost contact with – to the applause of the audience.
In his speech, Mr Zuma said Government was relatively pleased with the progress being achieved under the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) program, but especially the Maritime Transport and Manufacturing lab, as earmarked infrastructure development involving significantly billions of rand of Government investment was gathering speed across ports in the country, from Saldanha Bay at the far western end of the Western Cape Province to Durban in KwaZulu-Natal.
But crucially he said; was the need for speed in the creation of job opportunities and alongside which was a programme for education, training and skills development for many aspirant maritime economic sector career seekers.
With regards the latter, Mr Zuma pointed to two recent significant developments; the enrolment for the first time ever of two public high schools in the Eastern Cape – the George Randall and Ngwenyathi High Schools in East London – for delivery of maritime economic sector education curriculum, and which was preceded two years earlier by the establishment of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) to focus on education, training and skills development as well as academic research into the sector.
Aptly, SAIMI – an initiative spearheaded by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in partnership with, among others; the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the Department of Higher Education, is the first institution of its kind in the country wholly dedicated to human resources academic and vocational skills development and upliftment precisely for the country’s maritime economic sector, and located in the Eastern Cape; a region of the country reputably the ‘second poorest’ even as endowed with 900km of a coastline – the second longest after the Western Cape.
Only four of South Africa’s nine provinces are along the 3200km coastline stretching from the Atlantic Coast to the west, the Southern Ocean to the south and the Indian Ocean to the east, and therefore with a direct claim to an Exclusive Economic Zone of the oceans that stretches for more than 1.5 million square kilometres.
The location of SAIMI in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape; reportedly funded currently to the tune of about R300-million, is largely due to the region’s eminent interest in contributing significantly to the revival of the country’s maritime economic sector.
From a sea trade or transport perspective, the province lays claim to three major ports, two in Nelson Mandela Bay and another in East London, in addition to a sprinkling of fishing harbours dotted along the coastline between Plettenberg Bay at the western border with the Western Cape province, through to East London.
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University at which SAIMI is accommodated, and one of four universities in the province, had notably long taken a lead in expressing interest in efforts for the revival and placement of the country’s maritime economic sector central in South Africa’s socio-economic development agenda.
The university is reportedly the first in the country to establish a functional relationship with the Malmo (Sweden) based World Maritime University and on the basis of which South Africa has been dispatching annually scores of Masters and Doctoral students for maritime studies since 2013.
With the location of SAIMI in the windy city, the country’s only dedicated cadet training vessel the SA Agulhas has found home here, as has the first commercial cargo vessel registered under the country’s flag, the Cape Orchid domesticated in the city.
Indeed, on its first voyage abroad, loaded with tons of iron ore destined for China last October, the Cape Orchid had also taken on-board a batch of cadets for training for a period of six months. Two of these young men were from villages in the mostly rural Eastern Cape.
On Friday Mr Zuma said the Eastern Cape remained poised to make even greater contribution to the country’s maritime economic revival – and about which he said most people countrywide knew little to nothing about until recently – and urged for collaboration and co-operation to ensure Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) delivered on its goals.
To the extent that the Eastern Cape gained the recognition it deserved in this regard, Friday was a good day in Port Elizabeth and it was a good day for the Friendly City.
At least that was impression on the faces of many among the thousands that came to welcome Mr Zuma’s report.
Mr Zuma said he would be back in the city in a week’s time, but this time for the launch of his party, the ANC’s local government election manifesto.
South Africans go to the polls for local government elections on 03 August 2016.
Lookout for the audi-visuals of the event on this blog later on.
South Africans might hurriedly get used to and settle permanently with the knowledge that their’s is a maritime country whose vast oceans remain central to its economic development into the future, according to Department of Transport deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga.
Ms Chikunga told mourners at a funeral of a senior manager of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Ms Sindiswa Carol Nhlumayo; in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend that the development of the country’s maritime economy – long suffering neglect yet with abundant economic resources – was now firmly in government’s national agenda and that no effort was being sparred by the State to ensure that requisite infrastructure, along with appropriate human skills were invested upon.
According to government estimations, South Africa’s oceans inclusive of an Exclusive Economic Zone equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers along a coastline equivalent some 3900km, have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and create more than one million jobs by 2033.
Ms Chikunga is the designated cabinet minister for co-ordination of South Africa’s maritime economic sector development and which effort is being pursued through the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) programme – a joint initiative between the State, the private sector as well as educational and research institutions.
Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) was launched in October 2014 targeting for rapid development over the next five years, five subsectors of the country’s maritime economy; Off-shore Oil and Gas, Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Marine protection services and Ocean governance, Aquaculture and Marine Tourism.
Ms Chikunga bemoaned the premature death of Ms Nhlumayo, an executive head of SAMSA’s Centre for Maritime Excellence; whom she described as having been a major contributor to both the country’s tourism strategy development as well as a key national figure in the promotion of development of the maritime economic sector.
Ms Nhlumayo (45), also a PhD candidate in maritime economy studies at the Sweden-based World Maritime University, as well as a multi-award winner inclusive of the Institute of People Management (IPM) “Business Leader of the Year 2015”, died of cancer on 11 February 2016.
Ms Nhlumayo had been central to development and implementation of national human resources skills development initiatives for particularly the maritime sector and had been instrumental in forging relationships between national and international education institutions inclusive of the World Maritime University that now has direct links with the Port Elizabeth based Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Since 2012 as many as 22 South Africans have read for Masters and Doctoral degree in maritime studies at the World Maritime University. In addition, several other South African youths, supported by SAMSA; are enrolled for maritime economy studies in Vietnam. Similar opportunities are currently being explored with institutions in the Phillipines.
Ms Chikunga said Ms Nhlumayo’s death was unfortunate as it came at a time when SAMSA was gathering speed with several of its promotional programmes of the country’s maritime economic sector and which has now seen commercial cargo vessels carrying the country’s flag for the first time in more than 30 years.
Two of these were registered late in 2015, while according to SAMSA Chief Executive Officer, Commander Tsietsi Mokhele; 12 others are currently awaiting approval.
For Ms Chikunga’s full remarks, view the video clip: (Warning: the deputy Minister’s entire speech is in isiZulu)
Fishing sector researchers sound the alarm about popular fish species in South Africa’s seas being ‘poached’ to extinction, and call for general public involvement.
By the time there are only about half-a-dozen rhinos and perhaps only three elephants left in South Africa’s wild, all due to rampant and incessant poaching; there may also be no more edible fish left in the country’s oceans, such is an apparent massive scale of poaching also of popular fish species along the country’s coastline, according to two researchers.
Professor Nadine A. Strydom and Bruce Mann’s story of an apparent desperate plight of the country’s fish species’ rapid decimation is carried in the January/February 2016 edition of Ski-Boat, a bimonthly print and digital magazine published by the South African Deep Sea Angling Association.
Prof Strydom is an associate professor in the Department of Zoology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. She is described as a specialist in the ecology of and early life history of coastal fish.
Mr Mann is a fish biologist based at the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban. He is said to be a specialist in the stock status, biology and ecology of linefish and marine protected areas.
A collaborator and contributor in the report is Mr Edward Turner, a sportfishing journalist involved in tourism development.
According to their report, an increasingly popular question in the South Africa fishing sector is: “Where have all the fish gone?”
Their alarm bell comes in the same period as the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is in the process of finalizing the receiving of application forms and issuance of related policy documents, beginning February 1, 2016; for Fishing Rights Allocation for the 2015/16 period.
The researchers’ report also coincides with the release of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Fishing’s annual fishing sector incidents report (Marine Notice No.1 of 2016) and which, summarily; paints an apparently encouraging picture in terms of gradually yet consistent reducing rates of deaths of fishermen through accidents and related in the country’s seas over the last decade or so.
Meanwhile, the researchers’ report on the dire conditions facing the country’s fish stock, describes none of it as being actually a joke as, they say; of 35 popular linefish species in a 2013 study report known as the ‘Southern African Marine Linefish Species Profiles‘ and published by the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Oceanographic Research Institute), more than half (19) of the popular linefish had ‘collapsed’, 6 (six) were over-exploited, with only 10 perceived as ‘optimally exploited.’
The researchers state: “Much media attention is placed on charismatic animals like elephants and rhinos and the anti-poaching messages are common on t-shirts and bumber stickers, but much less attention is given to the plight of our fish species.
“Many of our coastal fish species suffer a similar plight to rhino, with rampant poaching serving the greedy few while deriving (sic) other South Africans of their natural heritage. Sadly, the media hype about rhinos seems to miss other threatened species, particularly those that are hard for people to see on a daily basis,” so says the group.
Big fish, the most productive, are gone!
Sounding a shrill alarm, the experts claim that the current favourite target for fish poachers along South Africa’s coastal waters are big-sized fish, such as a fully grown dusky kob, and the greatest tragedy is that these large fish are also incidentally, the best breeders over time. They are all almost all gone, say the researchers!
“The dusky kop is just one on a long list of fish species for which alarm bells are ringing. Populations of many popular angling fish that formed an integral part of the rock-and-surf, estuary and skiboat fisheries in the past 50 years are already collapsed off our coast,” they say.
Precisely, line fish said to be under severe threat in South African oceans over the last few years include the following in four categories:
over-fished: the Silver Kob, the Squaretail Kob, and the Geelbek;
vulnerable: the Dusky Kob, the Black musselcracker, the White-edged rockcod, the Scotsman, the Soupfin shark and the Smoothhound shark,
endangered: the White steenbras, the Red steenbras, the Yellowbelly rockcod, and the Red stumpnose and
critically endangered: the Seventy-four and the Dageraad
Apparently, according to the researchers in their January/February 2016 report, the only refuge for many of the fish species are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) such as the Isimingaliso, Pondolond, Tsitsikama, Goukamma and De Hoop areas along the Indian Ocean east of the country.
However, they say; even these protected areas are only currently serving to keep pressure at bay in the immediate vicinity of the protected areas, as outside them, it is chaos.
In the document DAFF states: “Fisheries generally is a highly contested industry, both locally and globally. It is plagued by syndicated crime, over-exploitation of high-value species, corruption and poor compliance levels.
“The department, therefore, has to introduce comprehensive responses to this complex, highly technical and technologically advanced challenge by intensifying its monitoring and compliance efforts and working in close cooperation with other law enforcement
In their report however, Prof Strydom and Messrs Mann and Truter, while acknowledging fully a laxity in management and enforcement of fisheries regulations as a primary factor, a lack of public awareness compounds the problem and they believe, they say, that the public should “do more than just eat fish at restaurants.”
South Africans reportedly consumed approximately 313-million tons of seafood in 2010, of which 50% was sourced within the country’s waters. Much of that seafood constituted a variety of fish species.
“The future of our fish resources in South Africa rests in the mouths of those of us who eat seafood – both anglers themselves and those who by their seafood at restaurants and the local fish shop. You are ultimately the end users of coastal fish in South Africa and you have a moral obligation to participate in conversation effort for our fish stocks,” they urge.
Tools to assist public’s direct involvement and engagement
To assist the greater public engagement sought, the researchers point to a dedicated digital platform known as the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and which contains loads of information to assist especially fish dealers and consumers with knowledge about the fish they trade in or consume.
For retailers, the WWF-SASSI platform provides fish traders with information that includes guidelines to procurement of linefish from dealers operating in South Africa’s oceans.
In addition, the platform reportedly supports general members of the public by, for example: enabling people to, while seated at a restaurant, SMS the name of the fish on the menu they have ordered to a dedicated mobile number that in turn returns all the critical information known about the fish species, inclusive of its state of abundance or scarcity and some such other detail.
To encourage ease of use by the public, the platform also offers an app that can be loaded to a person’s mobile phone for purposes of accessing same information and alternatively, a downloadable booklet containing loads of knowledge about the country’s fish species and their current status.
“The demise of the dusky kob in coastal waters of South Africa is no less imminent than the threat faced by the rhino, elephant, abalone and others like them. Marine biologists are calling on all South Africans to step up and help fight the cause to ensure the sustainable use of our precious coastal fish resources,” says Prof Strydom and Messrs Mann and Truter.
Fewer deaths of fishermen on SA waters
**Meanwhile, a SAMSA report of recorded incidents of death at sea for the past 20 years (1996-2015) indicates a significant decline in the number of fishermen who die at see while at work.
Compiled by SAMSA’s Centre for Fishing, the report shows that even as the number of fishermen who died while at work at sea in 2015 more than doubled from only seven (7) in 2014 to 18 in 2015, the overall death trend reflected a significant decline particularly in the last decade from 2006 to 2015.
In the period, fishermen death numbers fell from double digit figures, sometimes as high as 57 per annum in the period from 1996 to 2005, to single digits of as low seven deaths per annum in the last decade to 2015.
The report may be obtained in three ways, from SAMSA offices at 146 Lunnon Road, Hillcrest, Pretoria; by requesting it via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or downloading it via the website: http://www.samsa.org.za.
Three South Africa youths made history in South Africa’s maritime economy sector here at the weekend when they boarded the country’s first registered cargo ship since the dawn of democracy.
Similarly, the city of Nelson Mandela Bay also marked its name in the country’s maritime sector’s history books when it was confirmed as the home of the country’s first registered vessel since 1985. The city is already home to the country’s first higher education and research institute, the SA International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
The youths, two from the Eastern Cape – Samkelo Ndongeni (25) a deck cadet from Ngqushwa near King Williams Town, and Thembani Mazingi (24) an engine cadet from Cofimvaba, and the third from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Gordon Sekatang (26), also an engine cadet – were taken on board the newly registered vessel at Saldanha Bay Friday for a hands-on ship management practical training scheduled to last six months.
The trio’s first travel aboard the Cape Orchid – a 32 day one way journey went underway at the weekend to China where the 279m long cargo vessel will off-load some 170,000 tonnes of iron ore – the vessel’s first trade cargo from South Africa since its registration under the country’s flag.