Saturday, July 19, 2014

President Launches "Operation Phakisa"

The President launched "Operation Phakisa" on 19 July 2014 in Durban. Operation Phakisa seeks to "unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans".

According to the President, the ocean contributed approximately 54 billion rand to South Africa’s gross domestic product and accounted for approximately 316 thousand jobs in 2010.

An analysis was conducted of nine sectors that comprise South Africa’s ocean economy. The ocean has the potential to contribute an additional R177 billion to the SA GDP. In addition, government is of the view that the ocean has the potential to sustain between eight hundred and one million direct jobs.

These growth levers reflect at least 4 percent annual growth in both Gross Domestic Product contribution and job creation.

Four priority sectors have been selected as new growth areas in the ocean economy, with the objective of growing them and deriving value for the country.

These are:
(a) Marine transport and manufacturing activities, such as coastal shipping, trans-shipment, boat building, repair and refurbishment;
(b) Offshore oil and gas exploration;
(c) Aquaculture; and
(d) Marine protection services and ocean governance.

With respect to aquaculture, Operation Phakisa seeks to expand South Africa’s aquaculture sector by generating jobs, especially in fish processing and marketing. In addition, an important focus area is to create jobs and improve participation across the industry in supporting the "transformation agenda".

The fourth and last workstream namely, Marine Protection Services and Governance, recognises that South Africa needs to continuously balance the economic opportunities which our ocean space affords while maintaining its environmental integrity.

The aspiration of this workstream is to develop an "incremental and integrated approach to planning, monitoring and execution of ocean governance and enforcement in the next few years".

According to Operation Phakisa, this will be achieved by:

(a) Developing an institutional framework for the management of South Africa’s ocean space.
(b) The implementation of Marine Spatial Planning of South Africa’s oceans,
(c) Improving the protection of South Africa’s oceans particularly around critically endangered ecosystems,
(d) Sustaining environmental integrity, and
(e) Addressing the skills gap.

It is of course concerning that this Operation Phakisa makes no mention of the critical need to recover our collapsed and overfished fish stocks, to better manage our fisheries and it also makes no mention of the recent recommendations and findings of the Global Oceans Commission report with respect to ocean and fisheries governance.

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