In marking World Fisheries Day this year on Tuesday November 21, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI) hosted three events at fishing towns across the Cape Metropole, including one at the Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club on Thursday November 23.
FADI invited various industry role-players, experts, institutes, organisations, bodies, NGOs, and beneficiaries to form part of the event programme. Under the theme, “Unlocking Potential for an All-Inclusive Ocean’s Economy”, the Gordon’s Bay event was an insightful and informative event with a good turnout all-around.
Sulaiman Appoles, head of projects at FADI, said: “We are an NGO focused on the blue economy and we promote access to the economy, our commitment; all our efforts, is motivated by ending poverty, creating sustainable livelihoods, rebuilding human dignity, creating equitable access to the ocean’s resources, promotion of skills science and technology and to promote local social development.
“Today’s effort, the World Fisheries Day celebrations in the coastal community of the greater Strand area, seems to do exactly that.”
Included in the event programme was a career expo with exhibitors tasked with showing the youth from the coastal areas the career opportunities existing in the marine, maritime, conservation and other related sectors forming part of the ocean’s economy.
My Appoles, said the purpose of the expo is for youth to be exposed to the opportunities for study and work in sectors relating to the blue economy.
Speakers of the formal programme included Professor Cliff Jones, head of the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University; Salizwa Mtombeni, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) student in Marine Sciences; George van der Schyff, director at Pristine Earth Collective, Xolani Diniso, Ward 86 councillor; and John Pretorius, chairperson of the Strand Fishing Cooperative.
Professor Jones addressed the issue of partnerships, discussed fishing programmes, research approaches, particularly the ecosystem approach needed to be taken, highlighting the necessity of implementing a holistic approach in the fishing industry. “We’ve recently been nominated as a Centre of Excellence by the African Union in the training of marine sciences training and aquaculture.
“One of the messages I would like to present is that it’s important to take on an ecosystem approach, not just biological but one in consideration of the entire ecosystem.
“You’ve got to stand back and take on a holistic approach. Look at the impact it has on the environment and take the people into account, otherwise the other approaches will never work.”
He furthermore shared knowledge on the integration of aquaculture and aquaponics, also providing a detailed explanation on request of an audience member, of the science in aquaponics; and adding information on how technology used and developed in aquaculture can be used in other areas and shed light on the processes of integrating things like aquaponics into communities, areas, and industries.
Ms Mtombeni with her presentation provided oversight on the detrimental effect of plastic pollution on oceans and marine life.
Mr Pretorius spoke on local fishing permits and rights and enquired about opportunities available for compensation for small-scale fishermen in cleaning up the oceans. It was here that Mr Van der Schyff’s input on the work they do as Pristine Earth Collective came into play. He explained the work they do with the litter nets placed at stormwater pipes.
He invited the local small-scale fishermen wanting more information to contact him.
He told Bolander there are very early discussions about possibly starting the project in future in the Strand areas as well.
Mr Appoles said: “FADI wants to explore implementing the project net cleaning here in the Strand areas.”
He made a call on ocean conservation movements to come together and work collaboratively.
Career expo exhibition stands garnered interest among pupils from local schools. “To see everything today was interesting to see and learning about sea animals (from the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation exhibition stand) what they do and what they eat. I learnt a lot,” said Strand Secondary School pupil Derius Adams, from Strand.
Assisting Lisa Starr at the Helderberg Ocean Awareness Movement (HOAM) information table was local conservationist Madeleine Rasmussen, from Gordon’s Bay.
In terms of ocean conservation she said: “We need to get the next generation on board because they are the ones that are going to implement all of that changes and I think what really needs to happen in South Africa is for us to get into the political side of things. All the people I find here wants change, but we are not going to see any change unless we get our politicians on board.”