Doing more to save the hake industry: iLIVE
The article "R3-billion fishing sector faces disaster", on the front page yesterday, bears reference.
The suggestion that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries "failed to complete a critical survey of hake stocks" is incorrect and without any substance.
What is indeed true is that SAS Africana is undergoing repairs and is therefore unable to do the survey as she has done for nearly 30 years.
Instead, we are working with the Benguela Current Commission and the survey is being done with the RS Dr Fridtjof Nansen.
With chief scientist and cruise leader Oddigeir Alvheim at the helm, and a number of agriculture and fisheries scientists on board, the Nansenis expected to dock in Walvis Bay tomorrowafter completing the survey.
The data collected will inform the operational management procedure for hake and will be used to determine the total allowable catch for the next hake season.
It will also satisfy the requirements of the Marine Stewardship Council for science-based decision-making in managing the hake resources, and thus ensure continued certification of South African hake.
Because of the importance of the survey, we followed the advice of an international panel of fisheries stock assessment experts in November, and commissioned an industry vessel, the FV Andromeda, to start a new time series for this survey this year. The Andromeda was to depart yesterday for the 35-day cruise with department scientists on board.
These two different surveys should not be confused.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is satisfied that it has put everything in place to ensure the survey happens. Suggestion that we did anything otherwise is alarmist and irresponsible.