The South African pelagic fishing industry turned to an old friend this week to desperately seek the assistance of Norway to help the industry with the increasingly unlikely pelagic research cruise. The reality is that this cruise must commence by next week or South Africa will not have a second half anchovy TAC and possibly may not have a pilchard TAC for 2013. This would certainly destroy billions of rands in commercial turnover and threaten some 12,000 jobs in the pilchard and anchovy sectors.
This is in addition to the 5000 jobs the Minister has directly jeopardised in the hake trawl fisheries by not allowing the hake research cruise to take place.
It is mind boggling that President Zuma and the Minister in the Presidency, Trevor Manuel, who chairs the National Planning Commission with its lofty ideals of "sustainability, job creation and poverty reduction" can allow the Fisheries Minister to wantonly ruin one great commercial fishery after another.
We reassert that the pelagic industry has little option but to turn to the courts for urgent assistance.
PS: We understand that the Namibians will soon be taking delivery of another research vessel and we may have to ask Namibia for assistance. It is worth reading an article in the latest Economist on how South Africa's bungling government is costing us.