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Archive for November, 2013


Over Monday 2 to Friday 6 December an international panel of scientists will be conducting an annual review of the analyses used to provide scientific advice for the management of the major South African fisheries. This review takes the form of a workshop to be held at the University of Cape Town (Mathematics Building Room M212, 9 am to 5-30 pm daily, except for an 11 am start on the Tuesday). 

Four leading international fisheries scientists make up the review panel. They are Sean Cox (Simon Fraser University, Canada), Ana Parma (Centro Nacional Patagonico, Argentina), Andre Punt (University of Washington, USA) and Tony Smith (Chair, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, Australia).

Discussions this year will focus on the four-yearly process currently in progress of revision of the formula used to recommend catches for hake, which is South Africa’s most important and valuable fishery and upon which thousands of jobs in the Western Cape depend. Deliberations will extend to review research related to the possible sharing of the hake populations with Namibia, and the implications which that might have for joint decision making for hake in the region. The other major species under review will be sardine, and the possibility that this consists of two rather than one stock. This has ramifications for the manner in which sardine fishing might best be distributed along the coast. There are associated implications regarding promotion of the recovery of the African penguin population, which is currently severely depleted and relies heavily on sardine for food. Technical documents to be considered at the workshop can be found at http://www.mth.uct.ac.za/maram/publications.php?year=2013&class=ws .

While most discussions will be fairly technical, at 3-30 pm on Friday 6th in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Zoology Building at UCT, the panel will present their findings and recommendations at a lay level, and thereafter answer questions from the audience.

For more information kindly contact di.lapidoloureiro AT uct.ac.za

During the 2012/2013 season 38 fishers held interim relief (IR) lobster fishing quotas in the Struisbaai area. For the current season, DAFF added a further 20 quota holders and with them came a new "community" representative appointed by DAFF. The original community representative, Mr Henry Bantom, who was appointed by the 38 IR quota holders has been removed and replaced by a Mr Charles Thompson. No one seems to know how this person was appointed to represent an entire community of Struisbaai lobster fishers and when this appointment occurred. 

What is clear is that the 38 original quota holders have been told by DAFF officials, including Desmond Stevens, that he will not talk to them. Stevens  will only communicate with the representative - Mr Thompson - who is now in charge of the entire Struisbaai lobster allocation. It is understood that - as has been reported in the Cape Times today (26 November) - a company called "Two Oceans" has been punted and put forward by Stevens and his department to harvest, process and market all lobster between Struisbaai and Kleinmond. Two Oceans is actually the "trading name" for a company called Partinex [CORRECTION: Parinetix] (Pty) Ltd with registration number 2012/21/2110/07. The two listed directors are a Shawn Pattison and Crystal Dawn Gerstner. It is unlawful for a company to have a trading name under the 2008 Consumer Protection Act that is not its registered name.

The more substantial concern is that "Two Oceans" is merely a front earning substantial fees while the fishers will once again get to suck on the hind tit. Fishers are under the impression that Two Oceans will pay them R200/kg for their lobster.

And although R200/kg sounds awfully enticing, the Two Oceans contract only offers the R200/kg price between 15 October and 15 December! How dishonest! Fishing permits were only issued after 15 November so in fact the R200/kg offer is valid for less than 30 days and in any case catching costs of approximately R50/kg must still be deducted! The price then decreases rapidly after 15 December to 155kg for live export lobster only (minus catching costs)! Frozen lobsters are paid out at R90/kg. Quite frankly, the Department has ensured that by forcing right IR quota holders to sign up with Two Oceans these quota holders will get thoroughly screwed. We have no doubt that Two Oceans will end up declaring to each IR quota holder that only a small percentage of the fish harvested was export quality and therefore - and we guarantee this - each IR quota holder will end up being paid the R90/kg for most of their lobsters. So, instead of earning in excess of R25,000 for their lobster quotas, we reckon that come the end of the season, IR quota holders will be looking at each other lucky to receive R15,000 each.

So which departmental officials are benefitting from this toxic deal? Which senior officials have been punting Two Oceans? The reek of maladministration and corruption is overwhelming here simply because other companies had, for example, offered R205 /kg for lobster payable between 15 November and the end of the season on 30 June 2014! So why was this offer not taken up? Why did the Department intervene directly in communities by removing elected representatives and force their chosen "representatives" on communities who then promptly signed agreements with Two Oceans? And who has signed these agreements purportedly binding entire "communities" and under what legal authority? 

It was also reported in the Cape Times this morning that Carol Moses of the Fisheries Department confirmed that IR fishing quotas were allocated on a communal basis. This is a clear admission of illegality as communal quotas are not permitted under the Marine Living Resources Act. Further, if this is the nature of co-operative-type fishing allocations, be warned. It is a process tarred with illegality, capriciousness and corruption.

We warned the portfolio committee about these threats and abuses. We have been beating this drum for  months now. This is why co-operatives - and particularly SACFC - failed in the past. Corruption. Maladministration. Greed. Marginalisation of real fishers. The fact that our warnings are materialising so soon is awfully worrying and a sign that officials at DAFF consider themselves to be untouchable and a law unto themselves. 

Feike, together with the Democratic Alliance, has submitted a complaint to the Public Protector to investigate this entire process, the role played by officials in forcing quota holders to sign up with Two Oceans and to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption that have been levelled against known senior officials.

Please forward any information you may have on this process, including bribes you suspect are being paid to officials at DAFF, threats being made by DAFF officials against community members not wanting to "tow the line" or any other suspected wrongdoing. You can submit this information confidentially to 086 537 8559 (fax) or email Shaheen Moolla or WhatsApp information. All information will be treated with the strictest of confidence and once submitted to the Public Protector, information is protected from disclosure under the Public Protector Act. Confidentiality is guaranteed.

We can not allow this type of vulgar and predatory corruption and maladministration to continue unabated. 

DAFF Sponsored Illegality & Community Conflict

Within 24 hours of Feike writing about DAFF's unlawful and questionable processes of allocating Interim Relief 8 lobster quotas which are now to be administered solely and exclusively by persons secretly appointed by DAFF, we have received further examples of possible corruption and community conflict in the Stanford area near Gansbaai and in Kleinmond near Hermanus. 

Feike has received information that some 15 Stanford interim relief lobster fishers have suddenly been removed from the Stanford list of Interim Relief lobster right holders by a Ms Francina Booysen (chosen by DAFF to "lead" the Stanford IR "co-operative" group) because they refused to agree to sell their fish to a company that DAFF wants them to use to process and market their lobster. 

The only possible inference for such egregiously illegal conduct is that one or more DAFF officials are being paid a bribe by the processing and marketing company to force right holders to use its services. Why else is DAFF and its staff so involved in determining where lobster is to be processed and who markets it? DAFF has no legal authority to dictate who may process or market any person's fishing quota. 

Feike has requested that the Official Opposition, the Democratic Alliance, immediately take this matter up by seeking the intervention of the Public Protector. The Public Protector must be asked to immediately commence an urgent investigation into possible corruption and maladministration involving DAFF officials and the allocation of IR fishing quotas. 

Global Oceans Commission Summary Report

The Global Oceans Commission has released summary reports on key policy issues affecting High Seas Governance. These summaries are currently available on the GOC website. The following are the 10 key policy areas that have been addressed:

1.     A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the global ocean
2.     Climate change, ocean acidification and geo-engineering
3.     Elimination of marine pollution affecting the high seas
4.     Bioprospecting and marine genetic resources
5.     Deep seabed mining
6.     Eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies
7.     MPAs: protecting high seas biodiversity
8.     Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
9.     Reform of high seas fisheries management
10.   Modernising ocean governance

 Comment can be submitted to ideas@globaloceancommission.org 


If you did not receive an email notification of the two articles published on 24 November, please forward your email address to Feike's Shaheen Moolla via email.
At Midday on 23 November 2013, the 2013/2014 squid season started. However for the 136 vessels  and 2422 crew uncertainty continued to dominate the fishery as it had done over the past 12 months. 

DAFF maintained its questionable silence and complete news-blackout on the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP). No one knows - 

  • how many applications in total were received for the 8 fisheries; or
  • of the total applications received, how many new entrant and current right holders applied for fishing rights in each sector; or
  • what the broad transformation profile of the applicants are (new and current right holders); or
  • what the investment profile of each fishery looks like.
Such basic information (which was all readily available within 2 to 7 days of the 2005 rights allocation process having begun) is crucial for the industry and applicants in general. It allows for greater confidence in the process and of course ensures that the process is as transparent and accountable as possible. Which senior officials have been appointed to allocate fishing rights in each sector? Do they know anything about fisheries or will we see the same calibre of unskilled, deployed cadres that were used to "allocate" the Sekunjalo vessel management tender?

DAFF's insistence on a veil of secrecy over the process, coupled with rampant allegations of  corruption and greed by senior officials at DAFF (allegations which the Minister herself has been brandishing about for years without doing a thing about them) only compounds the rumour mill that the secrecy and lack of accountability are designed to ensure that the "right" people get the fishing rights. Not since the 1990's has a rights allocation process been so chaotic and fraught with blatant illegality and maladministration. 

Feike has forwarded to the HAWKS information which was handed to us from a number of sources  about two senior officials who have apparently received generous payouts from a service provider enabling the recent purchase of multi-million homes and a brand new vehicle. There are further allegations of an official having had building work done at his private residence and paid for this by allocating the builders interim relief (IR) quotas. The one year, these people were not on the IR quota list, and then suddenly the following year they are lobster quota holders. 

The tragedy is how rapidly DAFF has degenerated into a failed institution unable to do the very basics - like allocate fishing rights timeously; have research and patrol vessels at sea; have vaguely skilled and honest senior managers. "Officials" hold posts they are entirely unqualified to hold - why are they in these posts we have to ask if they know zilch about fisheries management and their CV's would not even past initial scrutiny for the post - like a junior lecturer applying to be the VC at a top 200 University?  They conduct themselves in a rapacious manner in complete violation of what it means to be an employee in the civil service. 

Given the ongoing secrecy and continued holding of office by the most unqualified of people for these posts, there can be little trust in the honesty and legality of the FRAP process. We understand that - like in the ruling ANC party - senior managers at DAFF operate in factions, one undermining the other. So while these factions are undermining each other, who is looking after the interests of the fishing industry? Clearly, from the department's undeniable record of failure, NO ONE.

Where are these fishing rights that were supposed to have been allocated by September 2013 according to DAFF's last published timetable before the Portfolio Committee? Are there just too many factions busy fighting over who gets the spoils while thousands of right holders and crew are forced to standby and witness another government sponsored feeding frenzy at the pig trough? 

Second MLRA Amendment Bill: A Further Update

The Second Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill was passed by the National Assembly (NA) on 7 November 2013. In the next edition of Maritime Review Africa I address the fact that the Amendment Bill is a poser, which despite the protestations of the Minister of Fisheries and her officials, is nothing more than empty rhetoric and false promises. 

The inclusion of co-operatives as possible right holders simply does not address the history of fishing co-operative failure in this country. And then there is the desperate attempt to pretend that small-scale fishers were never before recognised by South African African law - as if the 2200 current artisinal right holders do not exist; do not hold fishing rights; and have not made massive investments in boats and people. 

The undeniable fact however remains that fishing rights cannot be allocated to co-operatives under the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP). Despite all the hype and rhetoric by the Fisheries Minister since the NA passed the amendment bill, the Bill must still be submitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for further debate and deliberation as the Bill is a Section 76 Bill (as opposed to a Section 75 Bill which the Minister and her officials pigheadedly kept insisting on until late October). 

The legal recognition of co-operatives as an entity that may hold a section 18 MLRA fishing right will only come about once the President signs such a Bill (whether in its current form or amended) into law and confirms a commencement date. As we have repeatedly stated in past BLOGS, any co-operative that had applied for a right under the FRAP process will not be allowed to lawfully hold a fishing right as the FRAP predates such a law allowing co-operatives to apply for and hold fishing rights. As such, any application submitted by a co-operative was a waste of time. 

Finally, the current Interim Relief 8 process which purports to allocate quotas to groupings of people under apparent co-operatives is a good example of how DAFF has become a law unto itself and now igniting significant levels of conflict and tension within communities. We understand that in the Ocean View area, the department has "chosen" the name of the only representative in the area to whom the entire Ocean View quota will be "entrusted". All the interim relief quota holders on the "Ocean View area" list were told that if they objected to the department's chosen (and chosen how?) person, they will simply lose their IR quota! This unfortunately is the model of soviet control that the department seeks to implement under the guise of "co-operatives". It fundamentally seeks to control which connected individuals will benefit from quotas it allocates under closed and secretive processes; it alone will secretly determine the conditions of access (what criteria and transparent processes were used to appoint these "chosen" area representatives?); and the department has now publicly decided that certain persons may threatened with exclusion from receiving quotas solely because they are members of one or other association that asks the "wrong questions".

If the department is allowed to continue along this grossly unlawful path, the socio-economic fall-out from this divisive process that is pitting neighbour against neighbour will make the collapse of the South African Commercial Fishing Co-operative look like the proverbial walk along the beach.