Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Minister Claims TAC Allegations are "Lies"

The Business Day this morning reports that Minister Joemat-Pettersson's response to Feike's allegations  against her that she irresponsibly and unlawfully interfered in the determination of the 2013 lobster TAC is that these are just "lies". She fails to substantiate why these allegations are "lies".

Of course the SA public is regularly met with such a standard response by government hacks and ministers when they are found out to have done something wrong. Its "LIES" I tell you! We await a statement alleging racism as their defence too. 

If our allegations of irresponsible and unlawful interference are all "lies" then perhaps the Minister should assist with the truth by explaining what the TAC for the WCRL fishery is and why it has not been announced with less than 24 hours to go the start of the season for all fishing zones south of Zone A? The commercial lobster fishing season for Zone A (Port Nolloth) actually commenced on 15 October! 

We note that bizarrely the recreational TAC was published but no commercial TAC for the lobster fishery. And as everyone in the industry knows, the TAC for the WCRL fishery is determined at a "global" level first - ie the entire TAC is determined for all sectors (commercial, small-scale, recreational and interim relief). Each sector is then allocated a proportion of the global TAC. In other words, one cannot set the recreational TAC without having set the TAC's for the other sectors in the WCRL fishery as well. 

If one considers the recreational TAC, it remains unchanged at 183 tons, which was a surprise to the recreational fishing sector representatives as they were under the impression that the TAC would be cut by about 9%. Their fishing days have been reduced from 67 days last season to an effective 57 days for the current season commencing on 15 November 2012. 

In fact the initial indications and discussions were that the TAC would be reduced by 20% because of massive illegal fishing attributed to the interim relief sector. If we recall, fishing by this sector was halted earlier this year because of massive fraud and illegal fishing. The Department, we understand, puts the quantum of illegally harvested lobster at about 8,000 tons (cf to a TAC of 2425 tons). 

We also understand that the current Acting DDG of Fisheries (in his capacity as the authorised official to determine TAC's under the MLRA) signed off on the WCRL TAC on 29 September 2012, directing a 9% cut in the commercial lobster TAC. So, Minister where is this TAC determination? Why has it not been published? 

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