Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fish dont swim only in the Western Cape!

Timeslive reports this morning that our foolish Fisheries Minister remains convinced that by moving the fisheries branch to Pretoria she will improve fisheries management!

She is quoted this morning as saying "Fish do not swim only in Western Cape. There are fishing stocks in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal."

Hey Minister, we know that! But clearly what you and all those clever advisers around you don't know is that not every fish and "fishing stock" can be commercially harvested! And there are two obvious reasons. One, the commercial value of any species is determined by the existence of a market. I know BMW communists like the fisheries Minister don't really care about the "market" 'cause in lala land it does not really matter, but in real life, no market means no value means poverty.

Second, the "fish stock" needs to be sufficiently large and healthy to support a commercial fishery.

Now, if the Minister has identified all these fish swimming in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KZN, why has her department not started experimental fisheries and new fisheries in these provinces to address the horrible and terrible historical imbalances that made all the fish swim in Western Cape waters.

Why has the Minister not fixed all the ridiculous obstacles preventing the growth and expansion of our tuna long line fishery which could substantially help places like Port Nolloth? Why has the Minister not commercialised abalone and east coast rock lobster harvesting in the Eastern Cape?

And if this Minister is so interested in improving the lot of the South African fishing industry (big and small), why is she not selling and marketing our fish at international fish exhibitions and shows? Instead, she constantly bemoans the fact that the fishing industry is dominated by large players (yes and that is a good thing because they create thousands of well-paid secure jobs as opposed to poverty mired artisinal and interim relief sectors and have access to critical foreign markets where South Africa is minuscule player) and constantly repeats the factually incorrect "apartheid is to blame" refrain.

Why does the Minister not actually read up a little bit on fisheries management; employ some people around her who know a bit about fisheries management; get some good advice and make some sane, knowledgable and rational pronouncements? Instead, it appears that her clever advisers just keep handing her another spade and that hole just gets deeper.

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