Abalone Fishing Ban; Convention on Conservation & Management of Fishery Resources in South East Atlantic Ocean


30 October 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

30 October 2007

Mr L Zita (ANC)

Relevant documents:
Convention on Management of Fishery Resources in South East Atlantic Ocean [available at Department of Environment and Tourism website]
Committee Minutes: 19 June, 8, 14, 15 and 21 August 2007

Audio recording of meeting

Concerns were raised over the Minister’s decision to place a moratorium on abalone fishing and the supposed lack of consultation over the decision. The Committee will request a briefing by the Minister on the issue as soon as possible.

The Convention on the Management of Fishery Resources in the South East Atlantic Ocean was unanimously adopted by the Committee.

The Committee unanimously adopted the Convention on the Management of Fishery Resources in the South East Atlantic Ocean.

Ban on Abalone Fishing
Mr I Julies (DA) raised concerns about the Minister’s decision to put a halt to abalone fishing.

Ms J Chalmers (ANC) felt that the moratorium applied to wild abalone fishing. She expected poaching to increase as a result of the moratorium. She agreed that it was a desperate situation.

Mr Mokoena shared Mr Julies’ sentiments but nevertheless felt that the Minister’s actions were correct as the poaching of abalone had to be halted. He felt it to be the correct measure but it was a bit too drastic as it happened without notice. The Minister had in the past said a moratorium on abalone fishing would only be considered as a last resort. Mr Mokoena pointed out that the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) had concerns over the lack of consultation on the issue.

The Chair asked Mr Durandt, the Ministerial Parliamentary Liaison Officer, to find out if the Minister could brief the Committee on the issue the following day, 31 October 2007.

Mr Durandt stated that COSATU and others had threatened the Minister with legal action and that it would perhaps not be possible for the Minister to brief the Committee as the matter would be sub judice. He suggested that the Chair write a letter to the Minister on the issue and invite the Minister to brief the Committee.

The Chair emphasized the urgency of the matter.

Mr Mokoena disagreed that the matter was sub judice. The matter would only be sub judice once it had been to court. The current issue was yet to reach the courts. He urged the Chair to write a letter requesting the Minister brief the committee. Mr Mokoena felt that perhaps the process of consultation had been deficient.

Mr Maluleke said that it was not clear whether the Minister had in fact consulted with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Labour.

Mr Julies said that the Minister’s decision affected the poorest of the poor. He asked how affected persons were going to be accommodated and whether a possible solution could be found.

Mr Durandt responded that the decision by Cabinet had not been taken lightly but abalone was on the brink of extinction. He added that Cabinet had demanded a social plan to mitigate the impact that the decision would have. Mr Durandt said that the briefing by the Minister would shed light on the issue.

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) said that the Committee should be given a proper definition of what constitutes poaching.

The Chair agreed.

Adoption of Committee Minutes
The 19 June 2007 minute was adopted unamended. The minutes of the 8, 14, 15 and 21 August 2007 were adopted with amendments. Most of the amendments related to spelling and grammatical changes.

Mr A Mokoena (ANC) suggested that minutes should state the reasons given by members for being excused from meetings. The Chair proposed that future minutes should state the recommendations and views of members and not only state what topic had been discussed in a meeting.

Mr Mokoena suggested that perhaps the format of minutes should be of a matrix type rather than an essay type.

The Chair said that the essay type format was good enough and proposed that recommendations made by members be appended to minutes. The Chair was not sure about the content of the minutes of 22 August 2007. He suggested that the contents be checked and that the minutes not be adopted for now.

The minutes of the 5 and 11 September 2007 were adopted as amended. Mr Mokoena said that if greater detail was needed, specific reference could be made in the minutes to a particular presentation.

The Committee agreed not to adopt the minutes of the 10 October 2007 as the Chair felt that it lacked detail.

The meeting was adjourned.



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