In all my 23 years of experience within the Fishing Industry, both from a Government and Private sector viewpoint, I have never seen as much wide-ranging activity as that which we have been exposed to over the past twelve months. Before getting to the various matters which SAHLLA needed to address during the year, I think it only appropriate for us to take a moment and reflect on the passing of Nelson Mandela. All the controversy and speculation aside one cannot take away the influence this great man had on not only South Africans but the entire world. May he rest in peace and may we that survive him do what we can to pass on his ideals to not only this generation, but those to come.
As your represented body for the hake longline sector, we have been exceptionally busy looking after your affairs during 2013. Gone are the days where one could merely sit idly on Industry Association Committees and meet quarterly to discuss matters of interest. Given that we are all voluntarily involved in the most part on a part time basis the progress we made this year speaks volumes for the efforts put in. I would therefore like to begin this year end newsletter by thanking the entire executive committee for all the efforts at their own costs through the year. Gastao Fernandes, Adelina Correia, Greg Christy, Celeste Diest, Mark Rowe, Johnny Josias and of course our East Coast Chair Redah De Maine all deserve a mention for their contributions made throughout the year.
In keeping with the trend of previous editions of this SAHLLA newsletter, I will again briefly outline the matters which were addressed. Should any additional information be required please do not hesitate to contact the Association or any committee member. These items are also listed in no particular order of preference or period in which it took place during the year and is for ease of reference noted separately hereunder.
Not only have we registered a unique email address and dedicated office contact details for the Association, but we have also designed a special corporate identity. This will go a long way towards not only identifying the Association as an established body but will also assist with our objectives of the Fishery Conservation Project. Only those participating in the SAHLLA project will be given the authorization of using the logo together with special membership number.
Fishery Conservation Project
Subsequent to signing into the Project with WWF, we have, in conjunction with our project partners Capfish and Molimo designed a Code of Conduct for the sector. Comments to this Code were distributed far and wide from Right Holders, vessel owners, interest groups to the Responsible Fishery Alliance. We are pleased to report that this process is now complete and that we already have a substantial number of Companies who have signed into the Code and in doing so have been accommodating SAHLLA Data Collectors on board fishing trips. We remind you that this whole exercise is geared towards not only ensuring we are recognized as an environmentally friendly industry but also to maintain and hopefully increase markets. Plans for the New Year will see this project expanding towards a development of a dedicated website which will not only acknowledge your involvement in the project but host a unique marketing tool for you too. We trust that this co-operation and support will continue into 2014.
Fishery Policies and FRAP 2013
Despite our sector not been up for renewal, the recently concluded FRAP 2013 process was followed very closely by the Association. In addition to the updating of the various sector Policies, this process also involved the consultation around the General Policy of 2005. As this General Policy lays the foundation for our sector too, we duly consulted on and submitted our comments in respect thereof.
Amendments to the MLRA
This year also saw DAFF produce a draft Marine Living Resources Act, which was presented for public comment. Like many of our counterparts, we too through the services of Maritime attorneys Dawson Edwards and Associates presented our comments and proposals. At the time of writing these proposed amendments have yet to be adopted.
Acting in response to threats of Sectoral Determinations from the Department of Labour, SAHLLA together with other affected sectors met to discuss our options and appoint subject matter experts to guide us. To this end, after many meetings and under the guidance of Frederi Steyn Visser, AFEO (i.e. Amalgamated Fishing Employers Organization) was formed. Those who wish to join this Employer Organization under the hake longline chamber are encouraged to give the secretary a call on 082-8809183 or email email@example.com.
We had many requests through the year from members pointing out various concerns and difficulties in respect of both the harvesting permit conditions and transport permits. At a Demersal Management Working Group meeting held on 14 November 2013, many of these permit conditions were raised and proposed amendments agreed on. Whilst some was merely of a grammatical nature others, such as the offloading of PQ fish only was of concern, particularity as many vessels were offloading H&G’s. Fortunately through consultation we managed to successfully amend these conditions. The issue in respect of the transport permits are still pending and SAHLLA will take this forward in 2014.
Various Other matters which we have leant support and consultation to include;
Mercury testing in hake protocol
SARS diesel rebates
Carbon omission taxes
Training and Safe Manning Regulations 2013
In addition to the Management and Scientific management working group meetings at DAFF, we have also ensured we maintain our association with Fish SA and the NFF of SAMSA. Whilst many of these items will again be discussed in our AGM planned for early 2014, I am sure that this glimpse into the year that was, will confirm my opening paragraph of this newsletter.
I again remind you that none of this will be possible without your membership contributions which are totally dedicated towards looking after the interest of the hake longline sector. All that remains is for me to thank you for your continued support and to wish you and your families a blessed and safe festive season and look forward to seeing you all in 2014.