Progress on aquaculture development in South Africa: Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Affairs briefings

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

14 October 2014
Chairperson: Mr M Rayi (ANC; Eastern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) briefed the Committee on the progress of aquacultural development in South Africa, beginning with a presentation on the current regulatory environment of the sector. Whilst there was an act relating to marine aquaculture, there was little on freshwater aquaculture and therefore the legislation applicable to the sector was convoluted across various organs of state. Overregulation and the poor coordination of frameworks posed a challenge in the development of aquaculture, leading to a 2013 review that resulted in the DAFF’s intention to begin the development of the Inland Fisheries Policy. A variety of interventions had been implemented to address the legislative issues, including the production of a document on Aquacultural Development Zones (ADZs) and collaboration with the Department of Envionmental Affairs (DEA) on invasive species. The DAFF identified challenges in accelerating the development of the sector including financial issues, lack of capacity and the need for further research. These problems were being addressed as part of Operation Phakisa, with several targets set for 2019 including a 5 fold increase in the output of the aquaculture sector. The 24 projects under Operation Phakisa were detailed and their locations mapped across South Africa.

The DAFF proceeded with their second presentation on ADZs and Inland Freshwater Aquaculture, explaining the way in which the locations were identified and their function. The presentation highlighted the socio-economic benefits of ADZs, including the minimisation of various costs and the creation of jobs to raise living standards of rural communities.

During the discussion, Members questioned why aquaculture would be more preferable to an individual than agricultural farming. The costs involved are much higher. Why is the focus on expensive species intended for export? What about increasing food security within South Africa? One member referred to a study by Enviro Fish in 2007. Where did the DAFF stand in relation to the projections made in the study? How many jobs does the industry currently provide? Concern was raised about the alignment of the policy frameworks. Was the new framework being developed because of the challenges in the unrelated and unintegrated statutory frameworks? What is the time frame for the Inland Fisheries Policy? What were the findings of the report regarding the diversity risk assessment of alien and invasive species? As for job creation, how many aquacultural farmers are there per province? What informed job creation in different parts of the country?

The DEA briefed the Committee on the Draft Alien and Invasive Species Regulations 2014. Of 559 species listed as invasive, the focus was on fish and invertebrates related to aquaculture. Invasive species are one of the biggest contributors to a decline in biodiversity and can have a negative impact on the economy and food security. However, in areas which have already been invaded it is hard to eradicate them so they can be utilised for fly fishing and in the aquaculture sector. Consequently, areas have been divided into zones. Specific examples of species used given included the trout, the tilapia, the Mediterranean mussel and the Japanese oyster which will be permitted to continue in green zoned areas where they already exist.

The DEA continued with a presentation on Aquaculture Proposed Listings to ITO EIA Regulations. Aquaculture facilities would now require a basic assessment and be placed into one of three listings. The conditions of each listing was described in detail, taking into account the type of aquaculture facility, its output and its geographic area amongst other factors.

Following this the DEA gave a presentation on the status of legislation and policies regulating the development and practice of aquaculture, looking at the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICMA) and draft regulations, and the Sea Shore Act (SSA). The regulation of the discharge of effluent from a land-based source into coastal water comes under the ICMA, but overregulation in this respect posed a problem to the aquaculture sector. The DEA was broadening it so different sectors are subject to different regulations. Norms and standards had been developed for abalone and trout industries, and others were in the development process. With regard to the SSA, sea-shore aquaculture facilities have to apply for a lease which can take several months to obtain. The DEA are introducing a system to reduce the problem.

Members asked questions about the species used in aquaculture. Had the DEA looked into the environmental viability of certain fish? The tilapia is sensitive to temperatures changes in the water, for example. Is there a timeframe for establishing norms and standards for species other than abalone and trout? As for legislation on national and provincial levels, in which will the coastal waters discharge permit be authorised? Who are the operators?

Meeting report

Briefing by Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on Aquaculture Regulations and Policies
Mr Mortimer Mannya, Deputy Director-General, DAFF, apologised on behalf of the Director-General as he was in another committee meeting. He began by outlining the history of aquaculture and the Department’s responsibility for the sector as dictated by its mandate. Looking at the current regulatory environment the Department administered the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA), but was challenged by the lack of legislation regulating freshwater aquaculture. The sector was therefore governed between various regulations and legislation mixed between various organs of state. Some examples of such legislation included the National Environmental Management Act, the Sea Birds and Seals Protection Act and the Health Act.

The overregulation and poor coordination of frameworks hampered the development of the aquaculture sector. Notwithstanding this, it was a growing sector, and is therefore a priority for a number of government policies.

The DAFF had 4 key structures providing support to the sector: Sustainable Aquaculture Development, Aquaculture Technical Services, Aquaculture and Economic Development and Aquaculture Research and Development.

There had been interventions to create a more enabling regulatory environment, including a strategic framework produced in 2011 and an animal health strategic framework addressing aquatic animal health issues. A review of the legislation in 2013 suggested a need for a freshwater aquacultural act, so the DAFF will soon begin developing the Inland Fisheries Policy. A document on the Aquacultural Development Zones (ADZs) had been developed and a study on the Public Understanding of Aquaculture was commissioned by the DAFF, showing that 85% of middle income earners in South Africa were unaware of the sector. Other interventions included the collaboration with the Department of Envionmental Affairs (DEA) on the Abalone and Trout Norms and Standards as well as on the amendment of the Alien Invasive Species Regulations.

In accelerating the creation of an enabling environment for aquaculture there were several areas where the DAFF faced challenges. For example, in terms of capacity, there was a skills shortage in the area of veterinary aquatic health specialists and, in the research and development of aquaculture, there was a need to establish Aquaculture Research and Technology Demonstration Centres to ensure cohesion and focus. In the area of education, training and awareness, it needed to be introduced into the curriculum for both undergraduates and postgraduates. Aquaculture had been identified as one of three areas for development under Operation Phakisa, which intended to unlock the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

The Aquaculture lab worked for 6 weeks to identify issues, develop solutions and action plans in relation to Operation Phakisa. The targets for 2019 included a 5 fold production to 20 000 tonnes from 2014, a R3 billion contribution to the South African economy, the employment of 15 000 people and the improvement of livelihoods in rural communities. However, the DAFF had identified several areas of constraint on these goals such as overregulation, the difficulty in accessing finances, a limited market footprint, skills shortages, underdeveloped infrastructure and sourcing economically viable, quality inputs like feed.

The DAFF had developed solutions focusing on priority initiatives that support the implementation of 24 catalystic projects. This included the addressing of legislative reforms, establishing an Inter-Departmental Authorisations Committee, obtaining a globally recognised monitoring and certification systemfor the purposes of exportation. With regards to finance issues, an Aquaculture Development Fund will be introduced and, to boost the market, there will be coordinated industry-wide marketing efforts. An illustration on the DAFF’s presentation mapped the 24 projects across South Africa and their current stages of development.

Presentation on Aquaculture Development Zones and Inland Freshwater Aquaculture by the DAFF
An ADZ is an area on land or sea set aside exclusively for aquacultural development. They may have bulk infrastructure to attract visitors and are supported by a variety of government policies. Suitable ADZs were identified according to their location, availability of quality water, their carrying capacity in the ecosystem, accessibility to markets and potential socio-economic impacts.

The benefits of ADZs included minimising the cost of obtaining an Environmental Impact Assessments Authorization and the cost of infrastructure, easily coordinated support systems, coordinated marketing, agricultural zoning of the sites and job creation.

The presentation proceeded to detail each of the 24 ADZ projects per province, but Mr Mannya did not feel it necessary to go through them as the Committee was provided with the document containing the information.

Mr C Smit (DA; Limpopo) referred to a study on aquaculture by Enviro Fish Africa for the Department of Trade and Industry in September 2007 where projections were made for 10-15 years later. Where did aquaculture stand in relation to these projections on jobs and production? Why was proper attention only being given to this industry now when the DAFF had access to that study? As for the ordinary person, especially in rural areas where people were in need of financial empowerment, why would they choose to farm fish over, for example, chickens? There had been studies on aquaculture for 35 years already, but what about studies on its feasibility? There was also the price issue. The focus seemed to be on more expensive types of fish and aquaculture for export markets, instead of providing for the 13 million people who were not food secure. It was important to look at countries such as Vietnam and Egypt that specialised in the aquaculture sector. For instance, most of the fish sold at Ocean Basket were Vietnamese Barb. The average cost for feeding chickens was R4.50 per kilogram, whilst at this stage it was R10 per kilogram for fish. In Vietnam it was only about R5 per kilogram, so it should be studied. The focus seemed to be on salt water fish instead of fresh water fish, which required less technology to fish as well as being cheaper. Why was this the case? A product was being produced that most South Africans could not afford. In terms of the different projects, how much had been spent on each one and over which period? How many jobs were there currently in the industry? Which markets was South Africa producing for?

Ms C Labuschagne (DA; Western Cape) said that the research document on South African policy developments outlined complex, inappropriate, unintegrated and unrelated statutory frameworks with regard to aquaculture, and procedures had resulted in failure to encourage the development of aquaculture entrepreneurship. On one of the presentation slides it stated one of the elements of the statute was the development of an integrated national policy framework, how do these elements align? Is the new framework being developed because of the challenges in the unrelated and unintegrated statutory frameworks? The presentation also referred to the development of the inland fisheries policy. What was the time frame for this? According to the second presentation the ADZs had already been determined, inclusive of both salt and fresh water. Why was this the case when the inland fisheries policy was still being developed?  What were the findings of the report regarding the diversity risk assessment of alien and invasive species? What was the national and provincial intergovernmental forums status on decision making? Was it binding or was it just a forum to inform the operation? What role did it play? In terms of aquaculture, how many farmers were there per province? How many extension services offices were there? The Committee needed a breakdown of support personnel versus farmers per province.

Mr JP Parkies (ANC; Free State) referred to the cabinet's recognition of the potential of this particular sector in impacting on economic development and job creation. The presentation acknowledged that reviewing the policy regime that governed the sector needed to be done quickly. Were the laws of 1972 and 1965, for example, still relevant to the current situation? The process of acknowledging and reviewing the policy regime was supposed to begin immediately. Why was a service provider being appointed for 24 months to develop the bill? As for the numbers attached to different provinces, were these scientific numbers? What informed job creation, whether indirect or direct, in different parts of the country? Did the DAFF put a time frame in place to specify when reviewing the legislative framework must be finished? The value chain committee that was being presided over by government only met 3 or 4 times per year, what was the impact of that in terms of the same brief of value chain issues? Was there any impact that could be measured in concrete terms when talking about the diversification of this particular sector?

Mr Mannya responded that the DAFF understood the constraints that existed and the potential of the aquaculture sector to grow in terms of jobs and the economy. It was part of the bigger strategic frameworks of government - the ocean's economy contributed to other areas such as food security. DAFF was considering the fish farmed for food as inland fisheries and freshwater aquaculture was developed. The reason it had started with marine aquaculture was because it was part of a bigger strategy and Operation Phakisa was focusing primarily on the ocean economy. Largely, it was the same constraints that affected inland aquaculture. As market and legislative issues were resolved, it would enable the expansion of inland aquaculture. There were projects within various provinces dealing with inland aquaculture. DAFF was looking at the cost of food, which had been identified as one of the constraints. Part of the problem was that the aquaculture sector was small and relatively new, therefore it did not necessarily the same commercial scale as in other areas. The Department was researching alternatives but as the sector grew, the hope was to reduce the cost of feed. The details on the expenditure of the various projects could be provided in writing. As to the reason why the DAFF had started with the projects before the policy, aquaculture legislation had been scattered in various areas so it needed to be harmonised. Inland fisheries were divided into zones because the Department of Water Sanitation and the DEA were, in various ways, providing the regulatory framework. It was not that the policy framework was totally absent, it just needed to be harmonised to accelerate development. Due the absence of legislation, the forum was not necessarily a decision making structure but more an advisory body on development. The information on the numbers of farmers and extension offices per province was provided in the Department's aquaculture yearbook which will be distributed to members.

Mr Mannya addressed the question why DAFF was not accelerating a review of the policy regime if aquaculture was important. He answered that one of the outputs of Operation Phakisa, in the 6 weeks it had been developed, had actually been its acceleration. There were interim arrangements between the DAFF and relevant departments to ensure this development went on, so it had been given the speed that was required. As to why a service provider for 24 months is needed, the DAFF recognised that, when developing legislation, consultations with all of the relevant stakeholders needed considering. The Department could only go up to certain point and once the process reached Parliament it relied on the programme of legislature, so the DAFF do not want to be overly ambitious. The job potential for each zone had been indicated and in terms of the authorisations, the possibility for the maximum of each project would depend on the funding available and the rate at which it was developed. The DAFF was creating an enabling environment so that investors and developers could come in. It was not the government itself that would be behind every project. Operation Phakisa had benefited from these round tables because it allowed the DAFF to understand the constraints faced by stakeholders and the extent to which they want government to intervene.

Mr Asanda Njobeni, Director, DAFF, added that the study on the risk and benefit analysis on species that were currently being farmed in South Africa was the result of concerns about biodiversity. If those specific sub-sectors were to grow, the DAFF needed to gage their impact whether negative or positive. This was done in consultation with the DEA. There was a report that outlined the areas where these species were currently being farmed and the mitigation measures necessary to reduce any negative impact. So the study makes recommendations, but it was still a subject of ongoing discussion between the DAFF and DEA. There was another intervention from DEA that assisted in regard to invasive species regulations, so there was a lot of cross-cutting between both departments in finalising these. If a person wanted to farm with exotic or alien species that were not on that list, they would be subjected to whatever necessary requirements arise from the risk assessment. In terms of jobs, during the lab phase of Operation Phakisa there were permanent industry members who were there. They assisted in the projections of jobs during the construction phase as well as the sustainable, permanent ones, as did academics in the sector, so that is where the figures came from.

The Chairperson commented that questions were also asked about the international market, such as Vietnam, and the cost of feed. On the issue of job creation, he noted that the DAFF discussed the potential rather the current situation.

Mr Njobeni said that the Department had done comparisons with a number of countries, particularly those that had the same size or a smaller coastline as South Africa in terms of marine aquaculture. Egypt and Ireland had been looked at. This had informed the potential which is projected by the DAFF.

The Chairperson said the slide which talked to Operation Phakisa in discussing the methodology of implementing the plans was not clear.

Mr Njobeni responded that it just outlined the processes at the lab from the first week to the last week. It started with the development of lab aspirations. Week 2 looked at solutions before members were split into groups to discuss initiatives. Week 4 and 5 was developing detailed action plans, where the Committee can see the supporting budget and key performance indicators. There was comprehensive detail and no less than 400 pages in the report from the lab stage alone focusing on aquaculture. Week 6 looked at documentation, which extended beyond the 6 weeks but the branch continued to meet every second day to finalise it. This was the information which they brought back to the Department to be operationalised. The following slide looks at aspirations, regarding where the DAFF stands and where it aims to be within the 5 year period it has to operationalise the plans. Aquaculture in South Africa had shown strong growth, the current production sat around 4 to 5,000, which was what the DAFF wanted to see coming to the end of the first phase. The intention was an increase to 15,000 permanent jobs and an improvement the livelihood of rural communities. After this, the slide looked at the 9 constraints the DAFF observed including inefficient regulation and government systems. There was also the difficulty in accessing finances, where fortunately the DAFF had worked alongside the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to produce the aquaculture development and enhancement programme. It was a 4-5 year programme, which began last year to boost investor confidence in growing the sector. Underdevelopment and the limited market footprint have also been identified as constraints. The DAFF was currently hosting delegations from foreign countries to come and inspect South Africa's systems and evaluate as to whether it is a country from which they can import products from the fisheries sector. The shortlisted interventions were summarised to 8 and the Department's 5 year medium-term strategic framework will find expression within the 24 projects that will be broken down into groups delivered per year up until 2019.

Briefing on the Draft Alien and Invasive Species Regulations 2014 by the DEA
Mr Alf Wills, Deputy Director-General, DEA, began by contextualising the alien and invasive species regulations. The DEA wanted to frame the debate in terms of the challenges it faced as well as the issues of fragmentation and challenges facing this particular sector.

Mr Wills mentioned that his colleague would begin with the overarching operational guidance in terms of the regulatory environment, in particular with the treatment of alien and invasive species. The DEA would then look at aquacultural development and what regulations applied in the pre-development phase, or if an existing facility would be expanding then it would touch on the authorisation environment once a decision to go ahead with the development phase takes place. The DEA would further comment on the streamlining of the interim phase given the lack of coherent policy and regulatory environment for interim measures. These would apply to Operation Phakisa and projects within ADZs.

Dr Guy Preston, Deputy Director-General, DEA, added that although they were titled as draft regulations, they were now enforced. They deal with all groups of invasives, equating to 559 listed species. Trout was not included in the regulations that went through, as explained later in the presentation. Invasive species had been shown to have a huge impact on several important areas, such as biodiversity, the economy, health, food security and many others. The impact on water alone had been estimated in the hundreds of billions of rand.

The specifics of the DEA’s presentation related to fish and invertebrates in aquaculture, and the most contentious of these was trout. A recent study by WWF estimated that 74% of all freshwater fish specimens had declined and one of the biggest factors was the damage caused by invasions from species such as trout, carp and bass amongst others. The DEA and the DFF had collaborated to deal with the problem and consequently the DEA had taken a pragmatic approach. In areas where trout had already invaded the chances of getting them out were minute, outweighed by the benefits of utilising them for fly fishing and related sectors as well as aquaculture. As a result, areas had been divided into zones.

The presentation looked specifically at the rainbow trout, but the same applied to the brown trout as neither were listed as invasive for freshwater or saltwater aquacultural facilities. These areas would be zoned as green, but the requirement was that any aquacultural facility needed to register with DAFF. In terms of what the DDG in DAFF had just presented, it was a way of reducing the red tape otherwise associated with such species. Trouts were a category 2 species, meaning they could only be kept in national parks, provincial reserves, mountain catchment areas and forestry reserves with a permit.In the Drakensburg National Park, for example, there are trout hatcheries which would be allowed and encouraged to continue.  They were regulated as an alien species in green zones, but they are allowed to be there. Orange zones would be areas where they did occur but were causing a problem or areas in which they did not occur at all. Trout may not be introduced into those areas without a permit and in most cases this would require a risk assessment. That would have no impact on aquaculture itself, as they were not listed for salt or freshwater aquaculture so they could be bred in either.

The tilapia was an important aquacultural species. The DEA and DAFF had met with interest groups and they would require a similar registration of aquacultural facilities. The problem with tilapia was that it hybridised with indigenous Mozambique tilapia, posing a problem in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, parts of Limpopo and parts of the Eastern Cape where there was concern about their introduction into certain areas. It might be possible using the Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) where the chance of release was virtually zero, but outside of those areas, and areas where they already occur, the DEA will allow further development.

The DEA had agreed with the DAFF that the Japanese oyster and Mediterranean mussel will similarly be zoned. Where the oysters and mussels have already invaded they will be green zoned and exploited as an aquacultural opportunity. The DEA has worked successfully with the DAFF to optimise opportunities for aquaculture without further damaging native species and they are nearing a conclusion.

Briefing on Aquaculture Proposed Listings to ITO EIA Regulations by the DEA
Mr Wills explained the proposed listings to the aquaculture predevelopment phase, applying to both new aquacultures facilities and extensions on existing ones. The DEA intended to reform the existing environmental impact assessment regulations in order to make it a much more streamlined and easier to apply procedure.

On the rationale for the listing of aquaculture facilities, he highlighted the use of exotic or non-indigenous species in aquaculture which, above a certain scale, could have significant negative impacts on the environment in terms of water, soil and air pollution. However, if the facility was designed correctly, managed sustainably and in the correct location aquaculture can be economically beneficial. Consequently, aquaculture facilities now required a basic assessment.

The regulations comprised of 3 listing notices that were described in detail on the presentation and briefly explained to the Committee. The first was a basic assessment applicable to smaller scale facilities, for example finfish, crustaceans, reptiles or amphibians, exotic to the area where such facility, infrastructure or structures will have a production output exceeding 20 000 kg but less than 200 000 kg per annum or the expansion of a facility where outputs would exceed 20 000kg. Listing notice 2 was a Scoping and Environmental Impact Report for larger scale facilities where production of, for example, finfish, crustaceans, reptiles or amphibians will exceed 200 000kg per annum. Listing notice 3 was a basic assessment below Listing Notice 1 thresholds but in specific geographic areas, such as in an estuary or Protected Area identified in the NEMPAA. These were just some of the predevelopment regulations which the DEA had been trying to simplify.

Briefing on the Status of Legislation and Policies Regulating the Development and Practice of Aquaculture by the DEA
Mr Yazeed Peterson, Director: Coastal Pollution Management, DEA, gave an overview of the aquaculture sector. There were over 195 farms across South Africa, which were mostly small scale farmers, but the sector intended to increase its output from 4000 tons to 20 000 tons per annum. The DAFF’s presentation was referred to in terms of the existing legislation and regulations in place that governed the industry. Those which related to the DEA on oceans and coasts were the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICMA) and draft regulations, and the Sea Shore Act (SSA).

In terms of section 69 of the ICMA, the discharge of effluent from a land-based source into coastal waters is subject to either a General Authorisation or a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit (CWDP). Current effluent generators were invited to apply for a CWDP and a National Guideline was published to promote a uniform approach to the assessment and management of impacts from effluent disposal which was applicable to all sectors. The marine aquaculture sector requested a less stringent approach with sector-specific issues taken into account, leading the DEA to broaden it so that different sectors are subject to different regulations.Currently draft norms and standards exist only for abalone and trout industries, therefore permits will be issued in the interim whilst norms and standards are formally established for various species.

Mr Lindelani Mudau, Director, DEA, briefly addressed part of the SSA regulations. Currently sea-ranching activities which took place on the sea-shore were subject to leases in terms of the SSA which were ratified by Parliament.The reason for this was for better management and coordination of South Africa’s coastal public property so that there was no impact on Coastal Public Property in terms of public to access it. However, as the DAFF had outlined, there was a lot of frustration with all the regulations to comply with when running the sector. The process took about 6-8 months, sometimes a year to get the lease. As such the Department was moving to the Integrated Authorisation System (IAS) to reduce the problem. Upon the signing of the ICMA-B by the President, the DEA would phase out these areas of leases according to the SSA and the process would be part of the IAS.

Before taking questions, the Chairperson asked the Department to be brief in its responses and submit a written response where detail was required.

Mr Smit said his first question was directed to both the DAFF and the DEA, referring to the identification of tilapia as a possible aquacultural fish. There were some problems with water temperature and whether it was viable or not. There had been some projects and investments on this in the Eastern Cape and Free State where the water was not warm enough. Had the Department looked at the viability of that specific species? What was the stance of the DEA specifically on the grouper and the mackerel for aquacultural use?

Ms Labuschagne asked if there was any indication on the timeframe for establishing norms and standards for species other than abalone and trout. On the coastal waters discharge permit, will they only be authorised on a national level or also on a provincial level? The clarity on the policy and legal framework is helpful, is it correct that it is only programmes of national strategic value that then will be assessed under the new legislation during the interim period? Or could a province also establish a strategic priority project, and how would that be treated?

Another member of the Committee asked about the operators. Who were they?

Mr Njobeni answered the question on the suitable water temperature for farming tilapia. The DAFF would proactively commission research to do a risk assessment and determine biological feasibility of farming particular species like tilapia. It could be farmed, but was there commercial viability when the temperature dropped or was too high during certain parts of the year? The DAFF offered technical advice to the would-be farmer that it was not advisable; however, aquaculture included animal husbandry. An investor may have the technology to manipulate anything that could be a limiting factor. If they want to test the theory the DAFF do advise accordingly on what could be limiting in a particular area.

Mr Wills said that a province could use national regulations for its provincial strategic programmes as well. Generally speaking the national minister would only become the competent authority where the programme crossed provincial borders and more than one MEC was involved. Otherwise, constitutionally, the competence lies with the provinces. If it is a programme within a province then the MEC responsible would implement the provisions of the law. So these interim streamlining provisions apply to all competent authorities identified in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). The challenge is when a particular programme requires harmonisation of authorisations at local government level, such as an air emissions license, and at national level, such as a water use license. It is then often preferable for the national minister to be declared the competent authority because they can harmonise the multiple legislation. However, in the case of aquaculture, whilst there is still the problem of the issue of the water use license at national level, the cooperative processes in terms of the provisions for cooperative governance could apply.

Mr Preston clarified the question about the alien and invasive species regulations. It was the national DEA which was the issuing authority and the competent authority. The provinces work with the DEA to ensure it issues permits in accordance with their needs. It is because the nature of invasives that it is a national competency. It is because the nature of invasives that it is a national competency. Specifically around the grouper and the mackerel, or in fact any alien fish including those that were indigenous but outside of their natural distribution range, there must be a risk assessment and permit if it is introduced to an area where it does not occur. In areas where they do occur and are not listed as an invasive species there would be no controls needed in terms of the invasive regulations themselves. There were other aspects that would have to be considered, but not that particular law.

Mr Peterson responded to the issue of the discharge permit authorisations. Unfortunately, as the law stood, it was exclusively national so the permits would continue to be issued by the DEA. On the issue of norms and standards, since there were draft norms and standards for abalone and trout the next step would be to have those approved by the minister. It was a process initiated by the Western Cape so he was unsure how far along it was, but he believed it was nearing completion. As for identifying the next species that mattered most, there would be a need for discussion between the DEA and the DAFF. The development of norms and standards could take anywhere between 6-8 months, taking into account the kind of scientific research that would be necessary. Potentially it could take less than a year, but the first step would be to identify the next best species for which there needs to be norms and standards in place. Of the 21 applications the DEA have at the moment, most were exclusively from the Western Cape for abalone.

The Chairperson thanked the delegations and asked that questions which were still to be responded be done so in writing and be submitted by the end of the week. When departments came before the Committee, the Committee would like the minister to be there as well. The Director-Generals should attend regardless of whether the Minister was in attendance. The Committee would be interested in seeing some of the reports mentioned, particularly those by DAFF. 

Adoption of Minutes
Mr A Singh (ANC) moved for the adoption of the minutes for the 16th September 2014. Mr JP Parkies (ANC) seconded the movement.

The Chairperson referred to the oversight visit to Gauteng province. The management team was finalising the logistical arrangements and this would be emailed to members in the next day or two.

The meeting was adjourned.

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