Sunday, September 23, 2012

Breaking News: Research Vessels Under DEA

Feike has been informed that the Department of Environmental Affairs has taken back control of the fisheries research vessel, the Algoa. And the Africana will follow shortly. Both vessels have been removed from the naval registry and are back on the SAMSA civilian vessel registry. 

In what is a clear indication of how incompetent and damaging the fisheries minister has been, Environmental Affairs has been able to get the Algoa sea-ready and sailing in about 7 days. The Algoa actually sailed from Simonstown on Friday, 21 September 2012, the day the Fisheries Portfolio Committee visited Simonstown to inspect the patrol and research vessels. 

And in a further indictment of the destructive, petulantly childish and personally vindictive behaviour of the fisheries minister, Environmental Affairs got the Algoa sea-ready in a week under the crew and operational leadership of Smit Amandla - the company against whom the fisheries minister has launched a personal vendetta and laid (what we believe are fictitious) criminal charges.  

What this fiasco has demonstrated is that the fisheries minister's vendetta against Smit Amandla has cost and continues to cost South Africa its fisheries biological diversity. We continue to not have any fisheries patrols and we have lost critical research cruises. 

We believe that the fisheries minister ought to be held personally liable for the massive financial damage caused to South Africa's marine and coastal environment. She certainly has a case to answer.

And there is now little need or justification for the continued existence of the fisheries branch under the control of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, unless their mandate is to continue to destroy the South African commercial fishing industry. 

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