Today, Tuesday 19 February 2013, the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) announced that the tender for the fisheries patrol management and research vessels will be divided into two separate tenders. The tenders are expected to be advertised in late March 2013 and are envisaged to assist in broadening the scope of participation to include both smaller and larger players into the fisheries industry; and to contribute to employment.
These were some of the key announcements made by fisheries Deputy Director-General, Ms Greta Apelgren-Narkedien. Senior officials from the branch also attended to explain developments and issues within the fisheries branch.
Acknowledging the challenges faced by the sector in certain areas, the meeting between officials of the department and members of the portfolio committee of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries portfolio, offered the committee an opportunity to give close inspection at the issues within the fisheries sector and to give collaborative guidance to the branch.
The guidance included recommendations that transformation of the industry should remain at the centre of the work of the branch. Among the other suggestions was a recommendation to present a turnaround strategy for the fisheries branch on how to better deal with challenges within the branch.
Other issues that were discussed include the state of the vessel fleet, the research surveys and the long term fishing rights allocations process. The department guided the committee on its intention to complete more research expeditions.
Says the Deputy Director-General of the Fisheries Branch, Ms Greta Apelgren-Narkedien "today's meeting has given us an opportunity to assess our operations and to flag all the worrying areas. There are a number of issues that we need to place a close eye in. The encouraging point is that our critical research missions have been completed, and those that are still outstanding are not going to be jeopardised".
A media conference will be held next week to further unpack details on all the intervention plans.