Oceans economy master plan to be launched in September

An aerial view of Port Elizabeth. File picture
An aerial view of Port Elizabeth. File picture
Image: Deneesha Pillay

The oceans economy master plan, which will map out how the Eastern Cape government can develop the marine sector as a key jobs driver for the province, will be launched in September.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane made the announcement during his state of the province address on Friday.

Mabuyane said there was a need to demystify the oceans economy concept.

First mooted over five years ago, government had tasked industry experts to investigate all the economic opportunities it could unlock for SA.

“In September, we will launch the oceans economy master plan which outlines the direction we want to take on the oceans economy.

“We can safely commit that we want to serve the ordinary fisherman. All they need are fishing licences, fishing equipment and a market to sell their catch.

“We will improve the working conditions of fishermen in our coastal towns and graduate them from subsistence fishing to commercial fishing.

“Our support package for them will include provision of small fishing boats and facilitating reforms in the process of acquiring fishing licenses,” Mabuyane said.

“We will continue our journey with Samsa and work closely with them towards positioning the Eastern Cape as a strategic centre of off-shore supplies and off-shore bunkering.”

In a move which could bring a much-needed boost to small coastal towns in the province, Mabuyane said officials would direct the department of public works and infrastructure to look into developing small harbours in Port St Johns, Cape St Francis and Port Alfred.

This, he said, was to create jobs in the coastal towns during the current five-year term.

“This policy shift brings with itself new thinking about how we position Coffee Bay, Mdumbi, Gonubie, Hamburg, and Port Grosvenor as new centres of tourism and oceans economy growth points.”

Earlier on Friday, Mabuyane said the oceans economy master plan would give direction as to the kind of small harbours that should be developed and it would outline the role of government and the private sector.