Women want more opportunities to work at sea

Two young women at the interface of quay and sea share their experience of working in the fishing industry.

Megan de Klerk and Nelile Gcabashe

Megan de Klerk and Nelile Gcabashe work for different fishing companies in different locations, but the two are united by their youth and commitment to pushing the barriers that they believe are preventing women from building careers at sea.

Megan is quality assurance and HACCP coordinator at I&J’s Cape Town Fishing division and Nelile is assistant risk control officer at Sea Harvest’s trawling operation in Saldanha Bay. Both are at the interface between the fishing fleet and the fleet administration. Megan works closely with skippers, factory managers and quality controllers to make sure that the fish landed by I&J’s vessels is safe for consumption; Nelile works with skippers, safety officers and engineers to make sure that the Sea Harvest fishing fleet is seaworthy and safe.

“Whenever the vessels dock, I carefully go through the production report to see that everything on the quality side is in order,” explains Megan who graduated with a National Diploma in Biotechnology in 2017 and has been working for I&J for two-and-a-half years.

She also works closely with food safety auditors to ensure that the I&J fleet is compliant with the stringent food safety standards that are demanded by the company’s international customers.

In a similar way, Nelile visits the Sea Harvest vessels on a daily basis, checking safety equipment and standards, investigating when injuries occur at sea, and working through checklists and testing protocols to make sure that the vessels in the Saldanha fleet are well prepared for routine safety surveys. She graduated with a Diploma in Nautical Studies from Durban University of Technology and has worked for Sea Harvest for three years. In 2022, Nelile plans to register for an Advanced Diploma in Nautical Studies.

There are 10 vessels in the I&J fleet and 12 in the Sea Harvest fleet, but almost every sea-going employee Megan and Nelile work with on a day-to-day basis is male. Both say that they have been accepted and feel supported by the men they work with, in spite of their youth and gender.

“I’m young,” says Nelile. “In some cases I’m younger than the last born daughters and sons of my co-workers. But as I started to show up and everyone got to understand what I do, and what I’m capable of – how my work helps the company – my co-workers started to be more respectful and comfortable towards me and I don’t have any problems.”

Both are hopeful that when the COVID-19 pandemic abates and when personal circumstances allow, they will be afforded the opportunity to spend more time at sea.

“For my career goal, I need to understand the operational side of the business and that’s why I would like to spend more time at sea,” says Nelile. “I need to have that technical background, to see how things are done. I’m happy to have a shore-based job but I would like to spend much more time at sea.”

While Megan and Nelile both express satisfaction with their jobs, saying there is plenty of opportunity to learn and grow, they are concerned about the lack of sea-going jobs and opportunities for women.

“Women want to work at sea, but we are not given the chance,” says Nelile. Her sentiments are echoed by the few female factory workers who work on Sea Harvest vessels. All are factory workers (there are no female officers) and the female crew members have expressed the desire for opportunities to work in other roles at sea – as deck hands for example.

“People say that deckhand work would be difficult for women, but I believe that women should push that boundary and not be limited,” says Megan.

“Why don’t you get any female skippers?” she asks. “In this industry you can push yourself, it’s a good environment in which to grow.”

She and Nelile agree that when recruiting cadets (sea-going trainees who work towards a career as an officer or engineer), fishing companies should recruit women as well as men. This will create a working environment in which it becomes accepted practice for women and men work side-by-side at sea, with both sexes afforded equal opportunities to develop careers.

Both young women hope that the work they do in the male-dominated quayside environment will be recognised and that they will have many opportunities to improve their knowledge and capabilities by applying their skills at sea. In doing so, they hope to encourage other women to consider a career in the fishing industry and maritime environment, and that barriers to entry and career progression will diminish and disappear over time.

#DiepRespek shines a fresh light on vulnerable marine ecosystems

A rap video about vulnerable marine ecosystems is spreading quickly among fishing crews working in South Africa’s trawl fishery for hake.

Created by ecologist and filmmaker, Otto Whitehead, musician Walz and local lyricist KRO-BARZ, #DiepRespek, shines a fresh new light on the deep-sea environment and the need to protect seabed organisms from harm. It is being circulated among fishing crews via WhatsApp and is also available on YouTube.

Although many of South Africa’s deep-sea ecosystems have been identified and included in marine protected areas, the marine science and conservation community is working to ensure that vulnerable marine ecosystems that may not have been described yet are not damaged by fishing and seabed mining. SADSTIA supports this initiative because its members recognise that deep-sea ecosystems provide important feeding, reproductive, nursery and refuge areas for a high number of invertebrates and fish species. And, adequate protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems is an important condition of the trawl fishery’s certification by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Currently, scientific observers working on deep-sea trawlers, through the SADSTIA-funded observer programme, are required to weigh, identify and photograph all invertebrates caught in one trawl per day. The data collected by observers is contributing to the formulation of thresholds for the common groups of organisms that are found in the deep-sea environment. Eventually, these thresholds will lead to the development of “move on” rules that will ensure fishing does not continue in areas of high seabed biodiversity. Until such time as the thresholds are agreed and guidelines are adopted, fishing crews make use of precautionary, commonly accepted move-on rules similar to those in place for other regional bottom fisheries and informed by the vulnerable marine ecosystems working group.

Filmmaker Whitehead, hopes that #DiepRespek will help fishing crews to get to know the common groups of organisms that are found in the deep-sea environment, including hard and soft corals, sponges, sea pens and other invertebrates. With this knowledge, they will be better equipped to recognise and react if they are fishing in a vulnerable marine ecosystem.

#DiepRespek was produced by Kerry Sink, Lara Atkinson, Grant van der Heever and Otto Whitehead and was released through a collaboration between the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research at Nelson Mandela University, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the South African Environmental Observation Network and the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB). It features footage of the deep-sea environment collected by the African Coelacanth Environment Programme and SAIAB.

Worldwide, groundfish stocks like hake are on the up

Thirty years after the widely publicised decline and commercial extinction of northern cod off the northeast coast of Canada, the average abundance of groundfish stocks, including the Cape hakes, is increasing and may result in increased harvests in the future.

The paper Global status of groundfish stocks which was published in the journal Fish and Fisheries earlier this year, attributes the change in the status of groundfish stocks around the world to reduced fishing pressure and strengthened fisheries management.

“Groundfish” is an umbrella term like “demersal fish” which is given to fishes that live and breed on or near the bottom of seas or lakes. Groundfish are found in the temperate and higher latitudes of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, but stocks in the Northern hemisphere tend to be much larger. Pollock and cod are by far the most abundant species of groundfish, but the term includes other species like hake, haddock and rock fishes. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, annual groundfish landings have averaged 10.5 million metric tons since 2000.

South Africa and Namibia’s catch of Cape hakes makes up a tiny portion of the global catch of groundfish (about 300 000 tons per year), but the two countries’ fishing grounds in the southeast Atlantic Ocean are identified in the paper  Global status of groundfish stocks as one of five regions where fishing pressure is low and stocks might potentially sustain a higher catch. However, the authors of the paper note there are at least three good reasons why fisheries managers may choose to manage stocks conservatively and forgo some potential yield. The first reason is that target stocks are often caught together with other species of fish and it is not possible to achieve optimum yields for all species. Secondly, when fishing pressure is lower than maximum sustainable yield, it is economically more efficient to catch fish, and thirdly, there is a recognition that the needs of other marine animals that forage on fish species must be considered.

Interestingly, the certification of the South African trawl fishery for hake and the Namibian trawl and longline fisheries for hake by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is not unusual for groundfish fisheries. In fact, the majority of large groundfish stocks in Europe, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Namibia and the United States of America are certified sustainable by the MSC. This indicates the stocks are healthy and well managed, say the authors of the paper.

The advent of seafood certification and labelling schemes and the major expansion of marine conservation efforts by environmental NGOs may be one of the reasons why the downward trend in the status of groundfish stocks was reversed after 1990, say the authors of the paper:

“With the increasing concern about overfishing in the 1990s, we saw management intensity continue to increase, fishing pressure decline and stocks stop their decline and start to rebuild.”

Whereas groundfish stocks around the world have been rebuilt since the 1990s, the one exception is the Northwest Atlantic (Canada and the United States) where stocks have not rebuilt to levels approaching their targets, even after fishing pressure was dramatically reduced. The authors attribute the slow recovery of these stocks to changes in productivity that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

They acknowledge that there can be differences across fisheries regions and in some cases, when the average stock status is above target biomass and fishing pressure is below target, some stocks may be at low biomass or subject to excess fishing pressure. Similarly, they note that fishing is not the only variable that influences groundfish stocks – they are subject to environmental changes that may be heightened by climate change.

The authors conclude that if fishing for groundfish species could be more selective and the incidental catch of non-target species could be reduced, there is potential for groundfish to be exploited at or near their most productive levels, resulting in a bigger harvest of fish for human health.

Read the paper: https: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/faf.12560

Status of the stocks report

The Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries has released its 2020 Status of the South African Marine Fishery Resources report.

The report presents the most up-to-date information and analyses of the status of marine fishery resources in South Africa today.

The number of fish stocks covered by the bi-annual report has increased from 43 in 2012 to 61 in 2020. Among the species included for the first time are a number of line fish species, five species of skate, octopus, East Coast round herring and whitetip and great hammerhead sharks.

Read and download the report here.

SMME focus

Human resources, with heart

Legacy iLifa assisted Nalitha Fishing to institute an internship programme. The six young South Africans who benefited from the programme in its first year are (left to right): Antonio Arendse, Lwando Sontshalaba, Chanté Benson, Mzukisi Nogwaxa, Andisiwe Mangweni and Johane Mabuza. 

Human resources, with heart

Newly established Human Resources (HR) consultancy, Legacy iLifa, has worked with a small rights holder in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery to provide valuable workplace experience for six young South Africans.

Shortly after its establishment in late 2019, Legacy iLifa Consulting began working with Nalitha Fishing, a young fishing company based in Hout Bay with interests in the hake deep-sea trawl, hake longline, tuna pole and west coast rock lobster fisheries.

Legacy iLifa’s task was to help Nalitha Fishing to comply with HR legislation by developing and submitting an employment equity and workplace skills plan; assist the company to attract and hire professional talent; implement training and coaching programmes; and advise on broad-based black economic empowerment legislation and regulations.

The opportunity to work with Nalitha Fishing on a full suite of HR tasks was a great opportunity, says Nomaxabiso Teyise, managing director and principal consultant in Legacy iLifa:

“Nalitha Fishing Group was our first client, which was great because sometimes as an entrepreneur you know your skills, you know your craft, but you don’t necessarily know how to start a business, so the fact that I had my first client was really great.”

Legacy iLifa was able to help Nalitha put in place basic HR requirements like contracts, payment structures and proper remuneration, but the partnership between the two young companies progressed to the establishment of a 12-month formal learnership/internship programme that assisted six young South Africans to gain vital workplace training and experience.

The interns were drawn from all over South Africa and have a variety of qualifications, from financial administration to operations management and human resources.

“They got a learning opportunity, on-the-job experience, and some of them are going to be offered permanent jobs,” explains Teyise.

“What I really like about the partnership with Nalitha Fishing is that it is a business with heart. We’re doing business but we’re also making a very positive impact in communities and we’re giving people a hand up.”

Even in the face of the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, Legacy iLifa has developed and grown, attracting business from companies across the full spectrum of the economy.  Whereas the company offers a wide range of HR services, what is most appealing to managing director Teyise is the opportunity to work with companies on transforming the economy and the country.

“The reason my company is called Legacy iLifa is that we as a country come from a legacy of exclusion and it’s had a generational impact – young people are still suffering from what happened in the past. My company has been set up to shift the narrative and create a different legacy, making sure that people are included, that they have dignity and can look after themselves,” she explains.

Teyise believes the fishing industry presents huge opportunity for South Africa.

“There are many companies like Nalitha Fishing that are opening doors for people to get into the value chain – not necessarily just in fishing itself – and if those companies that are doing the fishing are thriving, and you’ve got progressive leaders that are really interested in creating opportunities for others, then the sector becomes dynamic and vibrant and it can really accommodate a lot more within the value chain,” she says.

 


 

SMME focus

Changing lives on the west coast

Ten years after establishing an engineering company specialised in ship repair, Mornay Kurtz was faced with a perennial problem: how to find skilled artisans capable of delivering the quality workmanship his clients expected. Mornay’s solution was to start a training and skills development academy.

In 2006, former school teacher, Mornay Kurtz started MCK Engineering with four artisans, three welding machines and a cutting torch. Mornay had worked as a project manager in the steel manufacturing business and he wanted to establish a business in the ship repair industry.

 

“I worked around the clock,” recalls Mornay, “I’d pack my truck and follow the vessels. I sat there waiting for them to give me some work to start with. That’s how I got into the game. I was never at home, I slept on the vessels, I was just working, working, working.”

Mornay’s breakthrough came in 2014 when, having proved himself as a reliable supplier of a range of ship repair services, Sea Harvest – a large rights holder in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery – awarded him a preferred supplier contract.

The contract with Sea Harvest enabled MCK Engineering to diversify its service offering and tackle bigger jobs. The company gained experience in specialised areas, such as the repair of ships’ tail shafts, and it began to repair and service propellers, pumps, winches and generators. As MCK Engineering grew and began to secure ever more complex contracts, so Mornay found himself with a conundrum.

“I needed skills,” he explains. “At the time, skills on the west coast and in Saldanha Bay were very scarce and there were no people who could really do the work I was doing. I had to transport artisans from Durban and East London to work with me.”

Mornay contemplated the fact that every time he employed someone from outside Saldanha Bay, he was taking opportunities away from his community, and he decided to do something about it.

“I started training people to do the work and I’m winning because people are learning and the money stays on the west coast. For example, we are working in Simon’s Town (at the Naval shipyard) but 80% of the people helping me on the vessels are from the west coast”.

What started out as ad hoc training led by experienced welders from East London, developed into a fully-fledged training academy that is today registered and accredited to provide training in boiler making, mechanical fitting and welding. Artisans earn a stipend while they train and they gain practical experience while working on ship repair projects for MCK Engineering.

“We train up to (National Qualifications Framework, NQF) Level 4 and we have a contract with another training service provider that helps the apprentices to pass their trade tests,” explains Mornay, adding that fully qualified artisans earn much better salaries than artisans that have not passed a trade test.

In addition to training artisans, MCK Skills and Training Academy offers short courses that help unskilled workers to improve their knowledge and skills and their ability to secure work.

“For every artisan that we employ, we need two semi-skilled workers, so this training makes sure that our semi-skilled workers learn and develop and are able to attract better wages,” he explains.

Now in its fifth year, the MCK Training and Skills Academy forms part of MCK Engineering Holdings, which incorporates four divisions – MCK Engineering Projects, MCK Skills and Training Academy, MCK Labour Hire and MCK Safety and Firewatch. Although Sea Harvest remains a key client, MCK Engineering Holdings counts several other companies among its customers, including SeaVuna Fishing Company, the Oceana Group, Merlus Fishing, PAM refrigeration and GEA refrigeration.

For Mornay, the opportunity to create jobs and opportunities for members of his west coast community is a pleasing reward for his vision and hard work:

“We have witnessed the drugs, gangs and violent culture that our youth are falling into in our community,” he says, “we have seen how they stare unemployment in the face after they complete Grade 12, and even after a tertiary education. Our academy gives these young people a chance to become well-trained and well-adjusted artisans.”


Stay tuned for more stories within this series.

SMME focus

J&K Recycling provides a vital waste removal service

For the past six years, Cornaphia Serabele and his team of helpers have collected plastic, paper and cardboard from Selecta Sea Products, a fish processing factory located in the Philippi industrial area outside Cape Town.

J&K Recycling visits the factory premises three times per week. With agile hands and keen eyes, the recycling team quickly sorts through the waste generated by the plant, separating materials that can be recycled – especially plastic and cardboard – from general waste. By doing so, J&K diverts large quantities of solid waste away from Cape Town’s landfill sites and into recycling plants.

Owner and manager of J&K Recycling, Cornaphia Serabele, says that acquiring Selecta Sea Products as a client, was a turning point in his business.

“Selecta was not my first customer, but it was the biggest one,” he says.

In relating how he secured the business of Selecta Sea Products, Serabele emphasises the importance of “keeping your eyes open” for business opportunities.

“One day I passed Selecta and I saw a lot of waste outside, because the bins were outside the factory,” he relates. “I saw the plastic and the boxes lying there and I asked the security if I could talk to one of the managers. They agreed that I could take the waste away.”

Initially, Serabele was not paid for his services – he earned money from the sale of recyclable materials. But after a year, the relationship between the two companies was formalized and today J&K Recycling invoices for the regular removal of waste from the factory premises, while continuing to earn money from the sale of recyclables.

Since J&K Recycling began its partnership with Selecta Sea Products, the recycler has taken on more and bigger clients and registered as a recycling company with the City of Cape Town. At the same time, the company has grown significantly. Today, J&K Recycling employs nine people and operates a fleet of three vehicles.

J&J Recycling operates in all weathers, providing a vital service that keeps businesses and the environment clean, and waste materials out of landfill sites. Its work helps to reduce energy used in the production of virgin materials, and lower the harmful emissions, especially methane, that are generated by landfill sites.


Stay tuned for more stories within this series.

MSC re-certification stalled by last minute objection

Hake products derived from the South African trawl fishery for hake have been certified by the MSC since 2004

A last-minute objection has stalled the anticipated re-certification of the South African hake trawl fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The re-certification was expected to be announced in November 2020, but an objection by the Wildlands Conservation Trust has set in motion a formal objection process, starting with the appointment of an independent adjudicator.

SADSTIA chairman, Felix Ratheb notes that the Wildlands Conservation Trust lodged “a last minute technical objection to the Final Draft Report and Determination published by Lloyd’s Register, the independent conformity assessment body (CAB), in which they surprisingly claim to have been unaware of the certification process and now belatedly seek to raise questions regarding largely immaterial aspects of the draft report and determination.”

He says that SADSTIA is confident in the process followed by the CAB, the substantive findings set out in the Final Draft Report and Determination and in the MSC fisheries certification processes.

“SADSTIA is participating fully in the MSC’s processes, and is confident that the objection will be properly and speedily dealt with without any impact on the fishery’s continued MSC certification, which has been held for some 16 years,” said Ratheb.

The MSC is an independent non-profit organisation that sets a standard for sustainable fishing and uses an ecolabel to recognise and reward fisheries that meet the standard. The MSC standard is rigorous and takes into account the entire fishery and the ecosystem on which it depends.

The South African trawl fishery for hake was the first hake fishery in the world to be certified by the MSC and until the certification of the Namibian hake fishery was announced in November 2020, the fishery was the only fishery in Africa to have achieved the MSC’s prestigious stamp of approval.

Hake deep-sea trawl fishery provides a lifeline to SMMEs

MCK Engineering is one of 1 041 SMMEs to benefit from an association with the hake deep-sea trawl fishery

A Saldanha Bay engineering company that employed five people in 2007, has grown into a multifaceted organisation with 72 employees thanks to its association with the hake deep-sea trawling industry. A second company has grown into one of the largest fully contained load transporters in Cape Town, with a fleet of over 90 trucks, semi-trailers and refrigerated vehicles.

The exponential growth and diversification of black-owned MCK Engineering and Moosa’s Enterprises is documented in the study “The impact of the hake deep sea trawl fishery on small, medium and micro enterprises”, which was released in Cape Town today. Conducted by independent economists Genesis Analytics, the study shows that the sustainability and international competitiveness of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery are vitally important to 1 041 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) that provide goods and services to the industry.

“The National Development Plan identifies SMMEs as the most likely source for job creation in South Africa, and places particular emphasis on SMMEs that provide services to larger firms,” said Felix Ratheb, chairman of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA). “This is exactly what this study reveals. Our industry’s support of SMMEs is creating value and jobs, often in rural and semi-rural areas where economic opportunities are scarce.”

The hake deep-sea trawling industry spent a total of R624.4 million with SMMEs in 2019, with most of this spend directed towards businesses in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces, including non-metropolitan areas like Gansbaai, Mossel Bay, Saldanha Bay, St Helena Bay and Veldrif.

A significant proportion (51%) of the R624.4 million the industry spends annually with SMMEs is directed at black- and female-owned businesses.

At 39%, engineering services account for the industry’s largest expenditure with SMMEs. The second largest category of products and services supplied by SMMEs is fish processing, which includes cold storage, the packaging of fish products and the provision of ingredients for the creation of value-added seafood. Mechanical services, including the repair, maintenance and refurbishment of fishing vessels and processing facilities, is another important category of goods and services.

Ratheb is hopeful that the information presented in the latest study by Genesis Analytics will contribute to the development of precise fishery-specific policies ahead of the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) that is scheduled to start this year. The Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries is preparing to allocate rights to 12 commercial fisheries in 2021. Included in the 12 fisheries is the hake deep-sea trawl fishery, which is by far South Africa’s most valuable fishery. It contributes an estimated R6.7 billion to the South African economy each year, and provides 7 300 direct jobs and an estimated 29 200 indirect jobs.

“What this study shows is that the stability and success of the hake deep-sea trawling industry is vitally important to SMMEs across the value chain. Securing the viability of SMMEs associated with the hake deep-sea trawl fishery is a better economic choice than restructuring the fishery to accommodate large numbers of new rights holders,” asserts Ratheb.

The impact of the hake deep sea trawl fishery on small, medium and micro enterprises” is the latest in a series of studies that have advised against the fragmentation of the hake deep-sea fishery in FRAP 2021. Fragmentation means taking substantial tonnage away from established companies in order to allocate it to many small new entrants. The studies have found that fragmentation will materially reduce the socio-economic contribution of the HDST industry for little or no gain in transformation. The hake deep-sea trawling industry is 66.6% black-owned and the top three companies active in the fishery are level one contributors to black economic empowerment.

“The policies that underlie FRAP 2021 need to be carefully formulated and aligned to the Government’s priorities of preserving and creating jobs, encouraging investment and promoting inclusive growth,” concludes Ratheb.

Read the factsheet

Read the full report

World Fisheries Day 2020

Opening a window on an exciting new world

Michael Layman & Craig Hendricks

On Saturday 21 November, World Fisheries Day will be celebrated around the globe, highlighting the importance of an economic sector that produces around 80 million tons of food and employs at least 40 million people.

Two young Capetonians who have personal experience of the opportunities that exist in fishing are Craig Hendricks and Michel Layman. The two secured year-long internships with the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) in 2019 and now have permanent jobs at Sea Harvest’s Viking Fishing Division in Cape Town harbour.

Both are surprised and excited to be working in an industry they say is largely unknown, but offers extensive scope for personal and professional development.

“I never pictured myself working in this industry,” says Craig Hendricks, who holds a Master’s degree in Politics from the University of the Western Cape. During his internship, Hendricks worked as a researcher and administrator for the fisheries association, FishSA. As a result of his hard work and positive approach, he was offered a permanent position in the quality department at Sea Harvest.

“In the current economic climate, you appreciate any kind of work that comes your way,” says Hendricks candidly. “I never thought I’d be working in a quality department, learning all about food safety systems, the laboratory testing of fish and talking to customers all over the world, but my internship and my new job have given me an opportunity to learn all about the fishing industry, and to learn new skills.”

Michael Layman followed an entirely different path to securing a permanent job in the Fleet Operations department at Sea Harvest. He graduated with a Diploma in Business Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and is currently working towards his Bachelor of Technology (B Tech) degree in Project Management. During his internship year, Michael was placed in the Fleet Operations office at Sea Harvest and this is where he has secured a permanent job. The Fleet Operations department is the interface between the skippers and crew who work on fishing vessels, and the administration and management of the Viking Fishing Division. It is a fast-paced environment and every day is filled with planning, logistics and lively interactions with sea-going workers.

“I never thought I would be working in this kind of operational environment and at first it was overwhelming, but I am putting my learning into practice because part of my job involves the procurement of goods and services for the fishing operation,” says Layman.

During their internships, both Hendricks and Layman attended a leadership course, and since taking up his new position with Sea Harvest, Hendricks has attended a course on food safety and he will start intensive training in the field of logistics in 2021. Layman is focused on achieving his B Tech degree, but he expects there will be training opportunities for him in the future.

“There are so many opportunities for you to grow in this industry,” he says. “You can either be content with where you are, or you can tap into these opportunities and learn more, expose yourself to the environment and go all the way up. The opportunities are there for you to take.”

The SADSTIA Graduate Internship Programme commenced in 2019 when the companies active in South Africa’s deep-sea trawling industry teamed up with the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the conservation organisation WWF-South Africa, and the Transport Education and Training Authority to provide an opportunity for 20 new graduates to work in the field of fisheries management, aquaculture, environmental science and related fields. Since the completion of the first year of the Programme, eight interns have found permanent employment in the fishing industry.

“Our members recognise that youth unemployment is one of the most serious challenges facing South Africa today and the SADSTIA Graduate Internship Programme provides us with a vehicle to address this problem,” says Fisokuhle Mbatha, SADSTIA research assistant and administrator of the Programme. “It provides graduates with valuable work experience and in some cases enables them to establish a career in the fishing industry.”

A first call for applications for a position in the 2021 internship programme was made on 20 October and a call targeted specifically at Master’s students in the fields of marine biology, oceanography, fisheries science, biological science, marine conservation, aquaculture, fisheries management and environmental law, was made on November 18 (Call for graduates to apply for the SADSTIA academic grant for 2021).