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Government, fishing industry tighten relations

Publish date: 26 March 2013
Issue Number: 303
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Category: General

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson last week met CEOs from the fishing industry and other senior officials from the department to pave the way for strengthened future co-operation between government and industry.

A report on the SA News site quotes the Minister as saying: 'The meeting has been a chance for industry to advise me, as a valued voice, on how we can expand opportunities for commercial and small-scale fishing fishers.... We want to build relationships, to create a culture of consultation and working together with the fishing industry.' She said the introduction of the small-scale policy, whose implementation plan will be finalised this year, will assist government to realise this goal. The policy's key imperative is to develop, assist and support the small-scale fisheries sector, the report states. Full SA News report

The Minister also announced that the fisheries patrol and research vessels, which were transferred to the SA Navy a year ago amid allegations of tender irregularities, are to come back to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. According to a Cape Times report, the year under naval management was marked by vessel breakdowns, fisheries research cruises missed, and almost no deep-sea law enforcement patrols. Joemat-Pettersson said Damen Shipyards Cape Town had been appointed to repair the vessels. The company was formerly Farocean, which was taken over and renamed. Farocean built three of the patrol vessels. No company has yet been appointed to manage the vessels, but Joemat-Pettersson said the tender process had begun. Regarding the hake industry, which stands to lose its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification as a result of bungles in fisheries, Joemat-Pettersson said she has assured the industry that 'processes were under way to address this', according to the report. MSC certification tells markets that the product has been fished sustainably and that stocks are managed based on science, the report notes. Full Cape Times report (subscription needed)