There is a need for South Africa to produce more Marine, Forestry and Fisheries’ scientists, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana.
Minister Zokwana had joined industry leaders and the department’s fisheries leadership on the commemoration of World Oceans Day, where the Status of Marine Fisheries Resources Report was also launched in Cape Town.
“We are calling for the development of more marine scientists for the development of the fisheries sector for food security. Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world's protein consumed by humans, making the Oceans critical to Food Security.”
“We know that achieving food security in its totality continues to be a challenge for the whole world and in particular for the developing nations when you consider the proportion of the population affected,” he said.
According to the United Nation’s agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO,) most of the world's major fisheries are being fished at levels above their maximum sustainable level with a number of fish stocks completely depleted.
Minister Zokwana said the development of new fisheries remains a critical part of government, hence the launch of Operation Phakisa as a means to unlock the oceans economy.
“Our planet comprises 71% of the ocean. It is the most important life-support systems on earth, and almost all humans on earth depend on the sea natural resources.
“Half of the World’s population lives with 200km of the Coastline. Oceans produce 50% of the oxygen necessary for human survival and therefore, the sustainable use and management of the oceans even its resources, is therefore critical to us today and for the future generation,” he said.
Marine Fisheries Resources Report
The Status of the South African Marine Fishery Resources is a bi-annual publication that presents and summarises the current status of South Africa’s fishery resources.
This report presents the most recent information and analyses of the status of the marine living resources in seventeen fishery sectors of South Africa.
The research and scientific assessments of the fish stocks form part of an important suite of valuable indicators directing the overall management system of the country’s marine resources.
South Africa has a long history of excellence in marine science, including in research and applied research relating to the management of marine living resources.
Minister Zokwana said while research alone cannot prevent stocks from crashing, it remains one of the key components of the overall management system which includes resource management and monitoring, control and surveillance.
In partnership with Santos Football Club, who have now become food security ambassadors, Minister Zokwana said they will be encouraging young people to join efforts to ‘kick off for food security’ and take up careers in the sector.