Monday, December 20, 2010

The Woeful Minister of Fisheries

The Editorial in the Cape Times this morning (21 December 2010) is a damning indictment of the failure of the Minister of Fisheries and her increasingly incompetent and reckless department in managing our lobster stocks.

As this blog has reported and re-iterated by the Cape Times Editorial, the Minister and her department are complicit in the continued destruction of lobster stocks which are now estimated to be at 3% of pristine by allocating a larger quota to the "interim relief lobster sector". Our lobster inshore stocks are in a substantially worse biological state than abalone. Instead of listening to her scientific advisers (who are the only professionally qualified fisheries managers left in her department) to not reward the interim relief poachers, shebeen owners, taxi drivers and the dead by increasing their quota from 53 tons to 200 tons, she is now the first fisheries minister in post apartheid South Africa to ignore her scientists. Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson can now hold her head in shame as she follows in the footsteps of various apartheid-era fishery ministers who allocated quotas against scientific advice and usually for questionable reasons.

What makes this Minister's mismanagement particularly sickening is that she tries to embarrassingly deny knowledge of the quota cuts for the recreational and commercial sectors (the job creators and tax payers) and the large increases for the poachers (who don't create jobs or pay any taxes)! But her signature is on the TAC document! Does she then admit that she signed the TAC document without applying her mind? If so, then her decision is unlawful!

Does this Minister not even have the courage of her conviction to defend her decisions? What an embarrassment. Perhaps fisheries should be returned to the Ministry of Environment where it was mismanaged less badly.

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