Government delays will cost fishing industry R250m

12 June 2018 - 06:15 By Bobby Jordan
Cape cormorants sun themselves in Kalk Bay harbour. Local fishermen could be adversely affected by the delay in a vital stock survey in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Cape cormorants sun themselves in Kalk Bay harbour. Local fishermen could be adversely affected by the delay in a vital stock survey in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Image: David Harrison

How many fish are left in the sea? Don't ask the South African Fisheries Department which has delayed a vital stock survey in the South Atlantic Ocean due to vessel problems. And it could cost the fishing industry R250-million.

With the Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries' main scientific survey ship stuck in port due to maintenance issues‚ the department must rely on a privately-owned vessel to accommodate their survey scientists. However‚ senior management is reportedly unwilling to pay the full cost of chartering the vessel. The private vessel has now been deployed elsewhere pending resolution of the impasse.

Without an accurate stock assessment‚ the government is duty-bound to impose conservative catch limits on the fishing industry‚ which in the case of pelagic fish – sardines and anchovy – could translate into a loss of up to R250-million.

“The situation is not yet resolved and it must be done in the next few days‚ otherwise it will be too late‚” an industry insider involved in the standoff told Times Select.

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