If you read only one thing today (besides our BLOG of course) then read today's editorial in the Business Day.
EDITORIAL: Department at sea over licences
It is a wonder that Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson survived Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
IF THE Springboks play tomorrow the way the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has handled its responsibilities of late, we are in for a hiding from England. The department has dropped the ball badly in a number of areas, most recently with regard to the commercial hake industry’s membership of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
The suspension of SA’s annual observer programme, which entails sending independent scientific observers out to sea to determine the size and sustainability of the hake stock, means no MSC certification. And no MSC certificate means a significant number of customers, particularly in Europe, who have committed to buy only certified fish, will be forced to look elsewhere for supplies.
This is no minor issue for an industry that has suffered in recent years from a combination of fluctuating fish stocks and under-investment prompted by uncertainty over fishing rights.
Spokesman Lionel Adendorf’s glib response that losing access to much of the European market, which takes a share of SA’s hake valued at R1,4bn every year, will "give us an opportunity to look at new markets" is breathtaking in its stupidity.
Read the full editorial here.