Monthly Archives: October 2019

WWF joins forces with small scale fishing communities of the Kogelberg

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Did you know that the WWF-SA Marine Programme has been working with Kogelberg region fishing communities since 2013? This began with a series of community engagements to implement a Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIP) action plan, drafted and finalised in consultation with stakeholders in the Kogelberg Marine working Group (KBMWG). The FIP highlights that it is not possible to address the sustainability challenges facing small-scale fisheries in South Africa without explicitly recognising that the barriers to sustainable practices in many of these fisheries are in fact economic and social rather than environmental.

After years of implementing the FIP in the area, WWF-SA introduced the concept of a Fisheries Conservation Project (FCP), which would amongst other things focus on supporting sustainable fisheries and creating sustainable alternative and supplementary livelihood opportunities for the broader community, using the United Nations Development Plan’s (UNDP) Sustainable Livelihoods (SL) approach to reducing poverty. The FCP is part of a broader project between WWF-International, WWF Germany and WWF-SA, and is funded by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The aim of the FCP is to improve governance, livelihoods and ecosystems in the small scale fishing communities of the Kogelberg.

There has been much interest and excitement from the community and the next steps are to investigate economic viability and sustainability. WWF-SA will then conduct a feasibility study which includes community engagement and liaison with experts in the respective fields. Projects that are found to be feasible will be implemented, and the community will be trained based on their needs to make this a success!

Kholofelo Ramokone, WWF-SA Intern: Conservation Scientific Officer, Small Scale Fisheries

Coastal Community Monitors – the next big thing!

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Who better to look after the environment than the local community whom depend on its resources? To improve governance, livelihoods and the ecosystem in the Kogelberg region, WWF-SA and partners from the KBMWG are embarking on a Community Monitoring project that will provide work-integrated learnership opportunities to 15 young people from the Kogelberg region.

Training will be conducted by Fish Force Academy from Nelson Mandela University at Hermanus Varsity Trust facilities. The candidates will be given an opportunity to gain hands-on work experience as Marine and Coastal Community Monitors (MCCMs) working very closely with CapeNature, Department of Environmental, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and the Overstrand Local Economic Development office (LED). The programme is a 3 year initiative and the WWF champion behind this will be the Small Scale Fisheries Project Coordinator based in the WWF-SA Kleinmond office.

The monitors will be exposed to and be given an opportunity to participate in the following;

  • Monitoring of marine and coastal data along the coast
  • Participating in environmental events in the Kogelberg
  • Maintenance work with respect to coastal infrastructure
  • Beach clean ups
  • Pocket book recordings and maintenance
  • Ensuring that all work are in compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements.
  • Administration, time and record keeping
  • Developing high levels of discipline and integrity
  • Leadership experience

Conservation through community empowerment is definitely the order of the day!

Kholofelo Ramokone, WWF-SA Intern: Conservation Scientific Officer, Small Scale Fisheries

Conservation lovers know no borders

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When I started at WWF, I was a wide-eyed young woman in my early-20s, fresh out of UCT.  Granted, I had been at UCT for 7 years but I had taken my time in finishing my masters.  I started in the perfect place for my cross-over into the “real world”, as an intern in the Environmental Leaders Programme at WWF-SA.

After a couple of years engaging with scientists to conduct the WWF-SASSI assessments that formed the basis of the WWF-SASSI “green|orange|red” traffic light system for sustainable seafood, I became the WWF-SASSI retailer engagement officer. I have been in this position for 5 years and have learnt so much through the work that I do and the companies that I work with. One of the things I love the most is that the work I do impacts what I see in every-day life, and to know that I played a part in this incredible shift towards a more sustainable seafood market in South Africa.

In my time here, I’ve been so grateful for all my experiences, some of which I’d never thought I’d do.  Highlights include walking 60km to Rocking the Daisies; cycling the (then) Cape Argus; getting to explore the largest global seafood trade show in Brussels; successfully putting together multiple Sustainable Seafood Symposiums with the MSC – an event where stakeholders from all aspects of the seafood market can participate; and learning about the commercial side of the seafood market by engaging with my WWF-SASSI Retailer/ Supplier Participants. I couldn’t have asked for a better WWF family, and I hope that whomever I work with next is half as supportive as them.

Now, seven and a half years later, I’m a slightly more tired-eyed young(ish) woman about to start my next big adventure as I move to Adelaide in Australia.  I’ve heard they have tuna-ranching nearby.  Who knows, maybe I’ll give that a go!

Stephanie McGee, outgoing WWF-SA Retail Engagement Officer

The oceans matter in Gauteng too!

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The culinary industry speaks sustainability

WWF-SASSI and Eat Out hosted Gauteng’s flagship sustainability workshop on 24 June 2019 at the WWF-SA Braamfontein offices. Some of Eat Out’s finest judges gave top tips to chefs and key players in the industry on running a sustainable restaurant. Sourcing, eating and promoting local produce were high on the agenda in addressing some of the complexities surrounding food security, sustainable consumption, species protection and local economic development.  Over 40 people attended and set the bar for Gauteng’s emerging and existing restaurants.

InfoChef foodies on food security

WWF-SASSI exhibited at this year’s exhilarating InfoChef 2019 and engaged with over 500 students, chefs and the general public! The event was held at Sun International’s The Maslow at Times Square in Pretoria on 30-31 July.  Sun International is also a proud partner of WWF-SASSI. InfoChef provided an interactive platform for students, culinary experts and all visitors to learn, engage and acquire information. The fresh look and exciting new approach with a multi-platform program gives students, learners, chefs and foodies the chance to touch, taste and experience offerings and products on a new level. The program consisted of an education and chef’s village, speakers, skills lab an interactive skills-oriented expo. InfoChef placed a huge focus on food security and sustainable consumption that echoed the core of SASSI’s messaging.

Another highlight in our Gauteng social calendar was Rhino Day! The Johannesburg Zoo pulled off yet another successful awareness campaign with over 200 scholars attending and marching around the zoo to create awareness around our beloved Rhinos.

Melisha Nagiah – WWF-SASSI Project Officer, Gauteng

What’s the deal with prawns?

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Ever wondered about how your favourite seafood got to your plate?

In the prawn trawl fishery, nets drag along the ocean floor and scoop up everything in their path including, turtles, octopus, rays, skates, sharks and reef fish are rapidly that are raised to the surface.

If they are not already crushed by the nets by the time they reach the surface, the trauma of the rapid ascent is usually enough to kill them. Once on deck, the content of the nets is sorted and up to 80% of the haul is dumped back overboard, often dead and wasted. An estimated 150 000 endangered turtles drown in the prawn nets every year.

You may think that aquaculture is the solution, however…

Farmed prawns have their own associated concerns – coastal habitats are destroyed, high levels of pollution are produced, outbreaks of disease and bacteria, unregulated use of pesticides and antibiotics, and fish feed from unsustainable sources. There are also significant negative socio-economic impacts of destroying the natural habitats that previously sustained communities.

Various species of prawns are on the red or orange list, and look out for new species and farming methods that will be on the SASSI list soon! ASC certified prawns are available at certain retailers.

Plastic Free July

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During the month of July 2019, The Beach Co-op, Twyg and WWF South Africa set a #PlasticFreeMzansi challenge for. We asked you to give up three items that are polluting our beaches: earbud sticks, chip packets and plastic bottles. We kicked off the month with a clean up on the 29th June; 49 people arrived on a very cold winter’s day and collected 10 full bags weighing 74.5 kilograms. Our top three Dirty Dozen items for this clean up were : 1,339 Straws, 1,237 Cooldrink lids and 961 Sweet wrappers. Here’s more on how the campaign involved fashionistas, influencers, scientists and activists to all be part of the solution, culminating in an epic Green Carpet Event.

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