Our oceans cover nearly three-quarters of the earth’s surface, and produce more than half the oxygen in the atmosphere. Some 97% of our water is here. It is a major influence on weather systems and a source of energy (the EU is looking at wave and tidal power to provide a tenth of the bloc’s power by 2050). It is also the home of a vast array of marine life – from whales to phytoplankton.
Over 12 000 species are known to occur in South African waters, “with almost a third of these species found nowhere else on earth” (WWF SA, 2017). South Africa, recognizing the economic potential of the ocean, has built its Operation Phakisa around it in 2014 (see heading 5). But there is a second reason why this chapter is in the “Issues” section.
The blue in the Blue Planet is in crisis.
Our oceans have been mismanaged, or at best, not been managed at all. They have been overfished and been altered by pollution “in ways we’re still just beginning to understand” (Ecowatch, 2015; see also Carrington, 2017; Smillie, 2017). How to carry on with global economies and interaction while ensuring that there is still life in our oceans? The 14th of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiated by UN member states in 2015 is to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (UN, 2015). Member states and major fishing companies have pledged to prevent illegal fishing (Harvey, 2017) amongst other things.
Measures that will turn the tide, so to speak, include:
- The setting of quotas on the amount of fish caught
- Adopting measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
- Establishing networks of marine parks in which/near which activities like building and mining are prohibited.
Populations of marine species are being fished to their limits globally. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 90 percent of fish stocks are being taken from the world’s oceans at or beyond sustainable levels. In traditional fisheries management, scientists conduct stock assessments, which managers use to set quotas and other policies designed to ensure that overfishing does not occur. But too often, politics derail multilateral negotiations to set science-based limits, especially when multiple countries are collectively setting catch limits and other fishing policies for a stock. Collaboration on catch limits is often elusive even when a population’s health reaches a crisis point. That’s where harvest strategies can help. These pre-agreed upon frameworks for making fisheries management decisions can help governments plan ahead.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
Halting Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing would enable African countries to unleash the full potential of their fisheries. The social and economic costs are huge. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing represents a theft of revenue comparable to tax evasion. Overfishing – legal, but careless – reduces fish stocks, lowers local catches and harms the marine environment. It destroys fishing communities, who lose opportunities to catch, process and trade fish.
Source: World Economic Forum. 2017, June 12. “We need to stop plundering of Africa’s ocean fisheries”. Eye Witness News. Available at http://ewn.co.za/2017/06/12/africa-fishing-illegal-fishing
Read about the Port State Measures, a binding international law and “one of the most efficient – and cost effective – ways to fight IUU fishing”, at www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/417286/icode/.
The United Nations convention on biological diversity aims to protect 10% of the world’s oceans by 2020 (UN, 2015). Some 6% of our oceans have been set aside for protection. Mexico, Chile, New Zealand and Tahiti have made news recently as countries taking steps to do so (Busby, 2017). The USA under Trump is headed in the opposite direction, reportedly considering shrinking its marine national monuments in the Pacific (Rose Atoll and the Pacific Remote Islands) (ibid.)
International business environment
- The African Fisheries Expert Network (Afri-Fishnet) is “a network of fisheries experts in Africa who are there to provide knowledge support and evidence-based policy recommendations to policy makers. It is a continental think-tank which uses the NEPAD/CAADP platform to influence policy reform in various African countries”. See www.afri-fishnet.org.
- The Benguela Current Commission is a multi-sectoral inter-governmental initiative of Angola, Namibia and South Africa. See www.benguelacc.org.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Clean Seas Campaign on Marine Litter www.cleanseas.org
- Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) www.ccamlr.org
- The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) exists as a subsidiary body of the FAO (see below).
- CTA – Find the “Fisheries” option at http://agritrade.cta.int
- Find both “Aquaculture” and “Fisheries” under the themes option at www.fao.org, website of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). http://www.fao.org/fisheries/en/ Download the “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2016” by the FAO at www.fao.org/3/a-i5555e.pdf
- Fishing News International – www.intrafish.com/fisheries/
- GLOBAL DIALOGUE on Seafood Traceability https://traceability-dialogue.org/
- Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) – www.iora.net/en
- International Association of Fish Inspectors (IAFI) – www.iafi.net/
- The International Maritime Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. See www.imo.org.
- International Ocean Institute – www.ioinst.org
- Find information on the Pan-African Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy Framework and Reform Strategy on the internet.
- The Rockefeller Foundation runs an Oceans & Fisheries initiative. See www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/initiatives/oceans-fisheries/
- South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization (SEAFO) www.seafo.org/
- Find the “One planet one ocean” option at www.unesco.org, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) website
- WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty – www.worldfishcenter.org
Find the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf. Further information can be read at www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_convention.htm
The UN Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks sets out principles for the conservation and management of those fish stocks and establishes that such management must be based on the precautionary approach and the best available scientific information. The Agreement elaborates on the fundamental principle, established in the Convention, that States should cooperate to ensure conservation and promote the objective of the optimum utilization of fisheries resources both within and beyond the exclusive economic zone. Read more at www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/convention_overview_fish_stocks.htm
The African Union declared 2015 to 2025 as the Decade of African Seas and Oceans, and the blue economy is now officially referred to as the new frontier of Africa’s Renaissance.
Some articles …
- Donnelly, L. 2014, May 8. “Africa loses $50bn a year in plundered resources”. Mail & Guardian Africa. Available at http://mgafrica.com/article/2014-05-07-africa-loses-50bn-a-year-in-plundered-resources
- http://agritrade.cta.int/en/content/view/full/18659 Despite their importance , fisheries are not yet a priority for African countries
- FAO. 2016. “The Value of African Fisheries”. Available at www.fao.org/3/a-i3917e.pdf Earnings could be eight times higher.
- Find the 2016 report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) “Western Africa’s missing fish: the impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and under-reporting catches by foreign fleets” at www.odi.org.
- Koyana, X. 2015, July 26. “African fishing losing billions to foreign subsidies”. Eye Witness News. Available at http://ewn.co.za/2015/07/26/Global-fishing-subsidies-cause-Africa-to-lose-billions
South Africa: imports and exports
- The Agricultural Action Policy Plan (APAP) points to the international demand for fish as being a market that the country can tap into (APAP 2015:17).
- The DAFF-NAMC TradeProbe Issue 68 (March 2017) has the feature “Ocean economy profile of selected products” which looks at the export figures for abalone, oysters and mussels. Find the document at www.namc.co.za.
- The A Profile Of The South African Aquaculture Market Value Chain on DAFF’s Directorate Marketing’s webpages at www.daff.gov.za looks at the import and export of fish.
Local business environment
Amongst the downloads at www.fishsa.org/research.html, find “Aquaculture”, “Marine transport and manufacturing”, “Marine Protection Services & Governance” and “Offshore Oil and Gas”, all categories of Operation Phakisa. Various other documents can be read on this website too, like Fishing Industry Overview.
- The fisheries sector is important to the coastal provinces, particularly the Western Cape Province where 11 of the 13 proclaimed fishing harbours is situated. These contribute more than 5% to the province’s Gross Provincial Domestic Product. The total output is estimated at 600 000 tons worth about R6 billion, depending on the Pelagic catch of sardine and anchovy, which could be as much as 300 000 tons.
- It is estimated that the direct employment in the industry constitutes approximately 27 000 jobs (16 000 in the primary sector and 11 000 in the secondary and tertiary sectors), while an additional 81 000 people are indirectly employed in industries that are at least partially dependent on the fishing industry.
- Fisheries output is determined by catch volumes which in turn depend on the health and management of fish stocks, varying according to ecological changes and subjected to over exploitation through illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities … Studies show that 68% of commercial linefish stocks have collapsed, and another 11% are overexploited (WWF, 2011).
Source: Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) 2015
To curtail the activities of foreign-owned fishing fleets, allow for fish stocks to recover, and/or for the South African industries to expand, South Africa established exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in 1977. The country has put in a claim to the UN to expand this EEZ by 1.87mkm², to almost three times the size of the country itself. Find the report “Lots more fish to fry if SA’s exclusive economic zone is extended” at www.businesslive.co.za/fm/features/2017-06-01-lots-more-fish-to-fry-if-sas-exclusive-economic-zone-is-extended/
Poaching, specifically of rock lobster and abalone, remains a threat.
Livelihoods and food security in South Africa’s coastal provinces are intimately connected to small-scale fisheries. How does one balance restorative justice for communities discriminated against before 1994, be fair to established fishing companies and keep in mind sustainability levels? The Policy for the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector in South Africa (SSF policy) and the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) and its Amendment Act provide the framework to achieve transformation whilst looking after the country’s marine resources.
“An objective of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy is to streamline all coastal community catch, processing and marketing activities, to not only better address the issue of compliance but also to eliminate illicit marketing streams. This is to ensure equity in across the value chain, where each verified coastal community and fisher is registered as a community-based legal entity” (Agricultural Policy Action Plan 2015: 60).
Find the FAO’s International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries [SSF Guidelines] at www.fao.org/fishery/ssf/guidelines/en and watch “FAO Policy Series: Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries” on YouTube.
National strategy and government contacts
Operation Phakisa seeks to contribute about R177 billion to the economy by 2030 (compared to R54billion in 2010) and create up to one million jobs by 2030..
In August 2014, the President established the first Operation Phakisa for the Ocean Economy, led by the Department of Environmental Affairs, to focus on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s ocean. One of the key outcomes at Operation Phakisa was the development of a Marine Spatial Plan (‘‘MSP’’), and an integrated ocean governance institutional framework to ensure effective implementation. The Department of Environmental Affairs was identified as the lead department to develop the MSP and the legislation to support it.The main purpose of the Marine Spatial Planning Bill, 2017 (‘‘the Bill’’), is to provide a statutory basis for the implementation of marine spatial planning for South Africa.
The ocean economy project linked to Operation Phakisa focuses on priority potential growth areas such as marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture as well as marine protection services and ocean governance. These are deemed to have a significant GDP growth and job creation potential.
- See www.operationphakisa.gov.za.
- A YouTube video is available at https://youtu.be/lFjkWIjA5zE
- Find the document “Operation Phakisa: Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans” on www.fishsa.org.
- Department of Environmental Affairs www.environment.gov.za Find “Oceans and Coasts” under both “Branches” and “Documents” on the website. Chapter 9 of A report on the state of the environment for South Africa looks at oceans and coasts.
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Fisheries Division Tel: 0861 123 626 www.daff.gov.za Take the “Branches” and “Fisheries Management” options for information on the Directorate International Relations Fisheries, Directorate Offshore & High Seas Fisheries, the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) etc.
Fish South Africa is an umbrella body that includes among its members companies like Premier Fishing, I&J and Ocean Fishing. See www.fishsa.org. Associations affiliated to Fish SA are:
- Fresh Tuna Exporters Association ftea [at] telkomsa.net
- South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) www.sadstia.co.za
- South African Longline Hake Tel: 021 4182696
- South African Mid-water Trawling Association RuiV [at] oceana.co.za
- South African Patagonian Toothfish Association (SAPTA) Tel: 021 685 1672
- South African Pelagic Fishing Industry Association Tel: 021 425 2727
- South Coast Rock Lobster Industry Association (SCRLIA) Tel: 021 790 1007
- South African Squid Management Industrial Association (SASMIA) www.bcre.org.za/sasmia/
- South African Underwater Fishing Federation www.sauff.co.za
- South African Tuna Association sata [at] mweb.co.za
- South East Coast Inshore Fishing Association (SECIFA) craig [at] vikingfishing.co.za
- West Coast Rock Lobster Association Tel: 021 425 2727
Fuller contact details are available at www.fishsa.org/membership.html
- Endangered Wildlife Trust www.ewt.org.za Included it the EWT activities is the Marine and Coastal Programme (EWT-M&CP)
- Masifundise Development Trust http://masifundise.org Promotes the interests of small-scale fisheries and supporting co-operatives
- South African Association of Seafood Importers and Exporters (SAASIE) Tel: 021 422 3322
- South African Commercial Linefish Association (SACLA) ladymfishing [at] telkomsa.net
- SA Tuna Longline Association Tel: 021 510 7924
- Worldwide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF SA) The oceans and marine life are a major theme for WWF SA. See information under “What we do” at www.wwf.org.za. Read about WWF-SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) at wwfsassi.co.za.
Training and research
- AgriSETA Tel: 012 301 5600 www.agriseta.co.za Because of the emphasis being given to aquaculture by the government, fisheries and aquaculture are included as a priority in AgriSETA training. Find information on the National Certificate: Fisheries Observation: Inshore and Certificate: Fisheries Observation: Deep Sea on the website.
- Bayworld Centre for Research & Education (BCRE) www.bcre.org.za
- Durban University of Technology (DUT) Department Maritime Studies Tel: 031 373 2694 www.dut.ac.za/faculty/applied_sciences/maritime_studies/
- Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Institute for Coastal and Marine Research Tel: 041 504 2852 http://cmr.mandela.ac.za/
- Rhodes University Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) Tel: 046 603 8415/6 difs [at] ru.ac.za www.ru.ac.za/ichthyology
- The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) incorporates uShaka Sea World, uShaka Sea World Education and the Oceanographic Research Institute. Contact them at 031 328 8222, or visit www.saambr.org.za.
- The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) Tel: 046 603 5800 www.saiab.ac.za SAIAB is a Research Facility of the National Research Foundation (NRF)
- The South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) is a consultative, communicative and advisory body that represents institutions and scientists from different provinces and disciplines. Visit http://sancor.nrf.ac.za.
- The South African Research Chair in the Law of the Sea and Development in Africa is hosted by the Nelson Mandela University, funded by the Department of Science and Technology and managed by the National Research Foundation. See http://lawofthesea.mandela.ac.za.
University of the Western Cape (UWC) International Ocean Institute Southern Africa Tel: 021 959 2301 www.uwc.ac.za and www.ioinst.org IOI-SA develops and offers capacity building and research programs that improve the sustainable livelihoods of poor and underprivileged people living in coastal areas. It falls under the Biodiversity and Conservation Biology department.
- Abagold (Pty) Ltd www.abagold.com Abalone producers
- Alnet (Pty) Ltd www.alnet.co.za Fish nets and other equipment
- AquaEco www.aquaeco.co.za Aquaculture and environmental services: planning, technical guidance, impact assessments, statutory approvals and … sustainability
- AquaFarm 028 312 4513 Seafood Wholesaler
- CapFish www.capfish.co.za International marine monitoring and fisheries consulting group
- Combined Fishing Enterprises www.comfish.co.za A fishing company
- Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) www.ecdc.co.za Aquaculture is one of the sectors targeted to increase foreign and local direct investment in the Eastern Cape.
- Enviro-fish Africa (Pty) Ltd http://envirofishafrica.co.za.plesk5.glodns.net/index.php?pid=1 Consulting company
- Feike natural resource management advisors www.feike.co.za
- Goldmann Engineering http://afrigol.com Processing and packaging equipment
- Gordon’s Bay Fisheries www.capefreshfish.co.za Fish distributors
- Irvin & Johnson www.ij.co.za A fishing company
- Kaytrad www.kaytrad.co.za Fish merchants
- Marel http://marel.co.za Fish processing equipment and systems
- Oceana Group http://oceana.co.za/
- Path Plastics Co (Pty) Ltd www.pathplastics.co.za Products include a range of fish bins, pallets, insulated bulk bins, containers etc.
- Premier Fishing & Brands Ltd http://premierfishing.co.za Fishing company
- Sea Harvest www.seaharvest.co.za Fishing and food business
- TerraSan Limited www.terrasan.co.za Holds investments in the pelagic fishing,
- Umkhonto Development Solutions www.udsol.co.za Help with accessing the different financial incentives from government for Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP)
- Viking Fishing Group www.vikingfishing.co.za A fishing company
Websites and publications
Visit the websites listed earlier in this chapter.
- African Journal of Marine Science. Find issues at www.tandfonline.com/loi/tams20.
- Find the notes on marine fish at www.aquarium.co.za/species/.
- Call the ARC at 012 842 4017 or email iaeinfo [at] arc.agric.za for the leaflets “Agro-processing of Marine Foods (Fish products)”.
- Find the WWF SA‘s Oceans facts and futures: Valuing South Africa’s ocean economy at www.wwf.org.za.
- Find the latest WWF-SASSI Retailer/ Supplier Participation Scheme report to ensure a sustainable seafood supply chain at www.wwf.org.za.
- Contact the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) for documents and DVDs like “The Sea Gives Me Hope – Artisanal fishers in changing times (2013, 4 min) – A brief look at some of the issues facing small-scale fishers and their concerns about climate change”. See www.emg.org.za.
- Benkenstein, A. 2015. “Achieving an Inclusive Blue Economy for Small-scale Fishers: Recommendations to the South African Parliament”. Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme: Policy Briefing 128. Johannesburg: South African Institute of International Affairs.
- The DAFF-NAMC TradeProbe periodically covers fish products. Issue 68 (March 2017) included an “Ocean economy profile of selected products”. Find the document at www.namc.co.za.
- Ocean & Coastal Management journal. See www.journals.elsevier.com/ocean-and-coastal-management
- Find details of the annual Fishing Industry Handbook – South Africa, Namibia & Mozambique, and the Maritime Handbook of Southern Africa Fishing Industry Handbook at www.gwarmanpublications.co.za.
- Harvey, K. 2018, July 8. “Community’s dedication helps turtles thrive”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/animals/game-and-wildlife/community-dedication-helps-turtles-thrive
- Molewa E. 2018, June 24. “Healthy oceans mean a healthy marine economy, which SA sorely needs”. Business Day. Available at www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2018-06-24-edna-molewa-healthy-oceans-mean-a-healthy-marine-economy-which-sa-sorely-needs/
- Keeton, C. 2017, October 15. “Only 0.5% of SA’s marine territory under protection”. TimesLive. Available at www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-10-15-only-05-of-sas-marine-territory-under-protection/
- Find the report “Lots more fish to fry if SA’s exclusive economic zone is extended” at www.businesslive.co.za/fm/features/2017-06-01-lots-more-fish-to-fry-if-sas-exclusive-economic-zone-is-extended/
- Reporter. 2017, April 13. “Keeping track of fish from sea to plate to keep illegally caught fish off store shelves”. BIZCommunity. Available at www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/520/160515.html
- Dodds, C. 2017, February 14. “Lobster crash erodes West Coast way of life”. Bizcommunity. Available at www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/628/157628.html
- Find blogs on www.agrihandbook.co.za like “The value of the African fish”.
See also heading 2.
Some articles …
- Carrington, D. 2018, July 26. “Almost all world’s oceans damaged by human impact, study finds”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/26/just-13-of-global-oceans-undamaged-by-humanity-research-reveals
- Carrington, D. 2018, July 9. “One in three fish caught never makes it to the plate – UN report”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/09/one-in-three-fish-caught-never-makes-it-to-the-plate-un-report
- The Economist. 2018, July 5. “Can eco-tourism help save the ocean?” The Economist Films. Available at www.woi.economist.com/protectors-misool
- Suzuki, D. 2018, March 28. “We’re Drowning in Seas of Plastic”. EcoWatch. Available at https://www.ecowatch.com/oceans-plastic-pollution-2554131906.html
- Carrington, D. 2018, January 4. “Oceans suffocating as huge dead zones quadruple since 1950, scientists warn”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/oceans-suffocating-dead-zones-oxygen-starved
- “Precision extinction: AI-piloted drone ships take illegal fishing to new – and even more unsustainable – levels” is one of the “Ten Global Risks in Terms of Likelihood and Impact” of 2018, compiled by the World Economic Forum.
- Find “3 Ways UN Leaders Can Restore the World’s Oceans” at www.ecowatch.com/3-ways-un-leaders-can-restore-the-worlds-oceans-1882101204.html
- Busby, M. 2017, November 25. “Mexico creates vast new ocean reserve to protect ‘Galapagos of North America'”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/25/mexico-creates-vast-new-ocean-reserve-to-protect-galapagos-of-north-america
- Carrington, D. 2017, December 5. “Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/05/oceans-under-greatest-threat-in-history-warns-sir-david-attenborough
- Daniels, A., Gutierrez, M., Fanjul G., Guerena, A., Matheson I. and Watkins, K. 2016. Western Africa’s missing fish: the impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and under-reporting catches by foreign fleets. London: Overseas Development Institute. Available at www.odi.org/publications/10459-western-africas-missing-fish-impacts-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing-and-under-reporting
- Gruby, R., Campbell, L, Fairbanks and Gray, N. 2017, November 24. “To Succeed, Large Ocean Sanctuaries Need to Benefit Both Sea Life and People”. Ecowatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/ocean-sanctuaries-sea-life-people-2512185926.html
- Harvey, F. 2017, June 9. “Nine of world’s biggest fishing firms sign up to protect oceans”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/09/nine-of-worlds-biggest-fishing-firms-sign-up-to-protect-oceans
- Smillie, S. 2017, February 20. “Fish under threat from ocean oxygen depletion, finds study”. The Guardian. Available at www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/20/fish-under-threat-oxygen-depletion-oceans-study
- McCauley, D. & DeSalles, P. 2017, December 28. “Top 10 Ocean News Stories of 2017”. EcoWatch. Available at www.ecowatch.com/ocean-news-2017-2520451366.html