South Africa to reinstate observer program
South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is reassuring industry that it is committed to returning marine research vessels to sea and to reinstating an on-board observer program in a bid to retain the hake deep-sea trawl fishery’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.
A procurement process is underway to contract a service provider for the observer program to ensure compliance and prevent overfishing; the process is expected to be concluded by end of August.
DAFF said it is cognizant of the importance of fishing to the country’s gross domestic product and job creation and will continue to do everything in its power to help maintain the hake fishery’s integrity. The fishery’s MSC certification has been in question since South Africa’s government discontinued its on-board observer program.
DAFF has been in discussions with MSC representatives over the past month as part of its bi-annual country surveillance and is awaiting the assessment report due next month.