Recent studies on the amount and nature of plastic that is ending up in the ocean, as well as the ecosystem and health impacts associated with this modern source of pollution have caused an increase in public awareness of the issue and concern about how to tackle it. Eighty percent of plastic that ends up in the ocean is getting there through land-based sources. In a world that produces 300 million tons of plastic per year and about eight million tons of that ending up the ocean, from where it is almost impossible to retrieve, the issue of plastic pollution has become a global concern (Ocean Atlas 2017). The solution to the majority of plastic pollution in the ocean starts on land, and while we are only just coming to terms with the scale of the problem, we are also looking for innovative, collaborative solutions.
The United States Consulate General, in partnership with the South African Maritime Safety Authority, the International Ocean Institute – African Region, the V&A Waterfront, and Operation Phakisa, held a public discussion on international, regional and local perspectives on ocean sustainability, with a focus on mitigating plastics pollution.
This forum on plastic marine debris is intended as one of many opportunities for decision makers and experts to get together to discuss solutions and mitigation measures to prevent plastic reaching our oceans, as stakeholders begin to realise the urgency of this issue. It is anticipated that this will be the first of many structured discussions that allow for effective engagement amongst the public, academics and government stakeholders on a variety of marine and maritime subjects. The report is available here: Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans
IOI-SA is working with the Department of Environmental Affairs, various NGOs and organisations to Ban the Microbead in South Africa. If you would like to help us by signing the petition to the Department of Environmental Affairs, please click here. A show of public support will support the case for the banning of this unnecessary source of pollution.
IOI-SA is the National Coordinator of the WWF-SA and TETA Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Training Project. The project is designed so that a pool of members from small scale fishing communities are trained as trainers and empowered to deliver workshops to small scale fishing communities around South Africa. The workshops explain the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries and responsible practices through a series of discussions, videos, interactive games and presentations.
So far, training events have been conducted in Kleinmond, Gugulethu, Doringbaai, Papendorp and Hondeklipbaai and have reached in excess of 89 people.
To follow-up from the March IOI-SA and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) workshop, this workshop was held after the small-scale fisheries applications were complete and being processed. IOI-SA and DAFF held a full day workshop that brought partners up-to-date on the progress that has been made in the sector and invited potential partners to identify what role they could play in partnering with DAFF in supporting the small-scale fishing sector. The second workshop aimed to create tangible partnerships between organisations and DAFF for the support of the fishing cooperatives.
The IOI-SA is getting ready to host participants from all over Africa for the 2016 Course in Ocean Governance. The course will run for four weeks from the 12th September to the 7th October, in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. The IOI-SA is looking forward to welcome the 2016 participants and the local and regional experts that will be lecturing on the course. The IOI-SA Course in Ocean Governance is run in partnership with SAIMI and SANBI. The draft schedule for the 2016 can be seen here: 2016 Schedule
The International Ocean Institute – Southern Africa (IOI-SA), in consultation with various stakeholders involved in the small-scale fisheries sector, recognise the need for enhancing stakeholder coordination in support of the Policy for the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector and its effective implementation in South Africa. The establishment of the small-scale fishing sector is in line with government’s Nine Point Plan to boost the economy by unlocking the potential of co-operatives, linking to Operation Phakisa, and increasing sales in the agro-processing sector and thereby increasing employment opportunities in rural fishing communities. To this end, IOI-SA coordinated and facilitated a half day workshop that invited stakeholders to better understand what role they can play in partnering with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in establishing the small-scale fishing sector.
In 2012 and 2014, the Department of Mineral Resources granted three prospecting rights for marine phosphate covering approximately 10% of South Africa’s exclusive economic zone. In response to concerns that unsustainable bulk marine sediment mining will soon be authorised in South Africa, a group of organisations formed the Safeguard our Seabed Coalition. Since 2015 the Safeguard our Seabed Coalition, of which the International Ocean Institute – Southern Africa is a member, has been pursuing a moratorium on bulk marine sediment mining in South Africa.
Tiny particles of plastic have been added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world. These microbeads, hardly visible to the naked eye, flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to filter out microbeads and that is the main reason why, ultimately, they contribute to the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans. Sea creatures absorb or eat microbeads. These microbeads are passed along the marine food chain. Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing microbeads from the food we eat. Microbeads are not biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove.
Positive action on behalf of manufacturers has meant that more and more of these microbeads are being removed from personal care products and replaced by naturally biodegradable alternatives. The International Ocean Institute – Southern Africa is committed to creating awareness around this issue and working towards a ban of microbeads in personal care products in South Africa.