VENTURES AFRICA – Oceana Group and Sea Harvest, fishing firms based in South Africa’s Western Cape Province, are upbeat about sales prospects this year, it was announced on Thursday.
Oceana is hoping to increase its canned fish sales by about 16 percent, while Sea Harvest has forecast an 8 percent rise in its hake catch.
But the two companies, which are partly owned by investment holding company, Brimstone, have raised concerns about the uncertainty regarding the surveys that set the total allowable catch. The surveys are said to be important for measuring the fish population.
The uncertainty stems from a delay at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in awarding a tender to a company that will carry out the survey and patrol the vessels.
“All we want at this stage is for the fisheries department to get the survey out ,” Sea Harvest CEO George Bezuidenhout, told the media.
“Last year, we lost the winter survey. We can’t afford not to have the winter survey in April.”
Oceana Group CEO Francois Kuttel also raised concern in his companies’ 2012 annual report saying the government’s research vessel “could not complete the small pelagic survey” and risked not being ready to complete the hake summer survey in time.