SA & Norway sign new R40 million fisheries plan

Sep 14, 2004
Author: DEAT

"The strength of the partnership between Norway and South Africa has always been our shared concern for the environment, for natural resources, and for uplifting the quality of life in all our communities."

These were the words of Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs & Tourism, speaking on Tuesday (14 September 2004) at a ceremony in Cape Town to mark the signing of a more than R40 million marine fisheries business plan with his counterpart, Svein Ludvigsen, the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries.

"The plan that we have signed today is for the period from 2005-2009. It will continue and intensify our partnership in the fishing sector, providing our industry with much-needed research capacity, skills training, and the tools to help develop our coastal communities," said Minister Van Schalkwyk.

Norway and South Africa have cooperated in marine fisheries since 1996. In 2000 this cooperation was formalised in a programme that has focused on policy and legislation development, scholarships and training, scientific capacity building, and the management of subsistence fisheries. The value of the Norwegian marine fisheries assistance during the first decade of South African democracy has been estimated to be in excess of R45 million.

"In just one of our many joint projects, over 600 members of community-based organisations have been trained in the principles of sustainable use of marine resources, as well as the legal and administrative frameworks of fisheries management," said the Minister.

"About half of all previously disadvantaged scientists employed by our Marine and Coastal Management Branch have been trained in Norway, and 14 students have been trained at post-graduate level through the scholarships. Through the partnership with Norway we are adding fisheries management, and economics expertise that has been badly lacking in South Africa."

The new Business Plan aims to improve employment opportunities in the SA fisheries sector, improve sustainable use of fishing resources in small-scale and subsistence fisheries, enhance capacity in marine science, fisheries economics and management through training of targeted groups. The plan also aims to build management capacity in the Marine and Coastal Management Branch in policy development, rights allocation, research, and Monitoring, Compliance and Surveillance (MCS).

Minister Van Schalkwyk also made use of the opportunity to highlight another upcoming project flowing from the cooperation between South Africa and Norway.

"In February we will also be participating in the inaugural flight to the new Antarctic runway that will be opened in the Dronning Maud Land - a major new point of access to the research bases in that region. The new runway will help us to establish and develop Cape Town as the next major gateway to the Antarctic."

Speaking about the continuing relationship between South Africa and Norway, Minister Van Schalkwyk added: "Norway has always been one of our closest international partners - from the Memorandum of Understanding on development cooperation singed in Oslo in December 1994, to the 1997 Agreement on promoting the RDP, to the Declaration of Intent signed in March this year on strengthening bilateral political consultations and development cooperation. This new fisheries Business Plan is an extension of this relationship and will be of great concrete value to our fishing sector and particularly to the people of our coastal communities."

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