Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Did the Fishing Industry Miss the Boat?

So President Zuma finally did his mini-cabinet shuffle and despite all the corridor whispers, the Minister of Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, remains in her post. 

Yes, we can all turn to each other and demand to know how is this possible! This Minister has after-all single handedly moved to destroy the fishing industry. The answer perhaps is that the fishing industry has remained too silent; too reliant on quiet diplomacy in the face of a rabid anti-fishing industry Minister. 

Consider the fact that civil society stood up and demanded that the e-tolls in Gauteng be scrapped; took the government to court to assert their rights and won and then won again as the President was forced to sack both the Minister and Deputy Minister of Transport. 

Instead, the South African fishing industry has now forsaken the last possible Cabinet shake-up for the forseeable future faced with the prospect of the loss of MSC certification for hake; implementation of the small-scale fishing policy which will destroy substantial economic and ecological value; no observer programme; no research vessels; no fisheries patrol vessels; and absolutely no leadership at the fisheries ministry or at the Department. 

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