2003 Annual General Meeting
The 2003 squid season has been one of contrast. The season opened with excellent catches and a crippled rand. A good time was had by all. The last months of the season were mostly the opposite story with generally poor catches made worse by a rampant exchange rate. The silver lining was there right at the end with catches improving substantially and, in my opinion, good signs for the opening of the season.
In February I attended the annual CIAC conference, which I found very worthwhile. My report on the conference is posted on the SASMIA website for those who are interested.
The SASMIA website is functioning well and was very useful during the recent tender process for closed season fishing. I would encourage members to use the site and to forward any suggestions to the committee.
A meeting was requested with MCM officials to discuss the arbitrary extension of the closed season and the basis for that decision. This action highlighted the urgent need for a representative and functional "management working group" to be established to fill the role of the defunct CAF and INSEF bodies. This meeting took place on the 24th June at MCM and was attended by Dean Stacey, Elijah Jokazi, Greg Christie, Roedolf Gerber, Nanda Nieuwoudt, Brandon Hooke, Tony Edmeades and myself, from SASMIA, with Johan Augustyn, Andre Share, Marek Lipinski, Mike Roberts, Warwick Sauer, Nuraan Abdurahman, Wilhelm Kroon, Jean Glazer and Doug Butterworth from MCM.
The following main points emerged from the meeting:
- It was agreed that a "management working group" was necessary and in fact Mr. Andre Share, together with Norwegian Sven Munkjord, had been tasked to set this up for all the sectors.
- The scientists would continue to base their decisions on the flawed Payne model in the absence of anything better. The recommendation to extend the closed season by one week would therefore stand.
- The extra week of closed season would precede the existing closed season to allow time for the product to reach the markets for the festive season.
- Industry's request that the closed season commence and end at noon (Midday) instead of midnight would be considered.
- The idea of industry initiating an independent research project to investigate "transformation" in the squid industry was welcomed.
- Future recommendations to the minister would not be left to one individual where possible.
- SASMIA requested that the requirements for the next round of applications be made known well in advance.
Note: I believe that MCM are presently engaged in drawing up a manual for, among others, the squid sector. This would be a "rule book" type document. Mr Sven Munkjord is now in the country and I would recommend that a sub-committee be selected from the incoming SASMIA committee to draw up recommendations for the envisaged "squid management committee". These should take the form of a TOR (terms of reference) document.
There was concern about the quality of fish being landed, particularly during the period of good catches early in the season. Our position in the international market relies heavily on the delivery of top quality product and other nations are reported to have made great strides in this regard. I would like to thank Brandon Hooke and his staff for making available the excellent quality control manual that they have produced. I am told that there is a noticeable improvement in quality.
The SABS recently contacted the industry, both SASMIA and factories/individuals, for response regarding their proposed 10% levy increase. Those that responded to my e-mail were not in favour of the increase. This was communicated to Michael Young, giving the various reasons put forward. Mr Young was invited to put his case to you today but is unfortunately out of the country. I expect that he will take up the matter with the incoming committee on his return.
An important development this year was the inception of EOCAF, the squid industry's employers organization. This was facilitated by SASMIA at the request of the members. Thank you to Nanda Nieuwoudt, Marius Grobler, and their committee for their hard work. It was important that SASMIA remain aloof from labour issues.
A formal complaint was received by SAMSA regarding fishing operations within the approaches to Port Elizabeth harbour, on which they were obliged to act. I met with Nigel Campbell of SAMSA, on the matter and he was very helpful within the restraints of the regulations. I'm sure we will hear more from him on the subject later in the meeting.
SASMIA donated an amount of R1000 towards a beach clean up organized by St. Andrews College.
Some progress has been made on the upgrading/replacement of the Beatrice Payne model that has caused so many headaches, but I am sorry to report that it is still likely to be a thorn in our sides for some time to come. More about that from the scientists in their reports.