Forestry, Fisheries and Environment publishes final amendments to National Estuarine Management Protocol

22 Jun 2021

Final amendments to the National Estuarine Management Protocol published for implementation  

Final amendments to the National Estuarine Management Protocol have been published for implementation. These amendments address implementation issues and the impact of the 2016 Supreme Court of Appeal judgement in Abbott v Overstrand Municipality. The judgement found that the assignment of functions to municipalities in the existing Protocol presented constitutional challenges, as the assignment should have been done in terms of the Integrated Coastal Management Act, and not the Protocol.

To address the unconstitutionality of the Protocol, the Department went through an extensive stakeholder consultation that culminated in an agreement to amend the following paragraphs of the Protocol:

Paragraph 5: to assign the provincial environmental departments as responsible management authorities to develop estuarine management plans and coordinate the implementation of the Estuarine management Protocols (EMPs) in consultation with the affected local and district municipalities. Provinces may enter into agreements with municipalities willing to take the function of developing the EMPs in terms of the 156 (4) of the Constitution and continue with the estuarine management function.

Paragraph 9.1: the approval of the EMP developed by the provincial lead agencies shall be approved by the MEC and where the EMP is developed by the national conservation agency or the Department, it must be approved by the Minister.
Paragraph 9.2 considers the effective implementation of the EMP by ensuring that once it is approved, it must be integrated into the CMPs, IDP, SDF and Protected Areas Management Plans.

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Dallas Creecy, published a notice in the Government Gazette, Vol 672 (Notice No. 44724) for the implementation of the amended National Estuarine Management Protocol on Friday, 18 June 2021.

A copy of the amended Protocol can be downloaded from the department’s website: www.environment.gov.za or can be obtained electronically upon request by email to Mr Ruwen Pillay on rupillay@environment.gov.za(link sends e-mail) .

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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DFFE decision on Karpowership EIA applications

24 Jun 2021

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has reached a decision on the three applications which were submitted in October 2020 by Karpowership SA (Pty) Ltd for an environmental authorisation for the development of gas to power via powerships.

The competent authority in the department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations.

The applicant had proposed to locate the three powership projects at the ports of Richards Bay, Ngqura and Saldanha to generate electricity from natural gas to be evacuated through transmission lines to substations linking to the national grid. The powerships were to be assembled off-site and be delivered fully equipped and functional to the different ports.

The abovementioned applications came as a response to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s requests for emergency power supply interventions linked to the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Procurement Program.

The competent authority in the department adjudicated these applications in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and specific sections of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

The final reports were submitted to the department for decision-making on 26 April 2021.

The competent authority had until 25 June 2021 to reach a decision, as the three projects were classified as strategic integrated projects, which meant the fifty-seven (57) day timeframe, as gazetted in the National Infrastructure Act, applied.

Copies of the records of refusal are available as follows: 

Should any person wish to lodge an appeal against the decision, he/she must submit the appeal to the appeal administrator.

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment on the splitting of squid resource

17 Jun 2021

Squid resource split between small-scale fishing and local commercial sectors

In a historic step forward for transformation of the small-scale fishing sector, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has allocated fifteen percent of the Squid catch to the Small-scale Fisheries sector.  Prior to this decision, the squid was not in the basket of species available to the 15 co-operatives and 600 individual small scale fishermen and women who operate in the areas of the Eastern Cape where squid is harvested.

This apportionment will be reviewed at the beginning of every fishing season with the view of increasing the portion available to the Small-scale Fisheries sector to twenty-five percent of the total allowable effort in this fishery.

The review will be subject to the annual status of squid resource, fishing patterns and fishing practices of new and existing right holders and the needs of coastal communities which are dependent mainly on fishing.

“Across the world, small scale fishermen and women play an important role in promoting household food security and providing livelihoods in areas where there are little other means of support,” said Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Minister, Ms Barbara Creecy.  “In March 2020 the Department allocated fifteen-year rights to fishing co-operatives across the Eastern Cape. The success of these co-operatives depends amongst other issues, on having a commercially viable basket of species.” Said Minister Creecy.

The limited basket of species has been raised repeatedly by small scale fishing co-operatives across the country. Accordingly, in October 2020, Minister Creecy invited interested and affected stakeholders to comment on the proposed resource split between local commercial and small-scale fishing in the Traditional Line fish, Squid and Abalone fishing sectors.

Having considered all the representations for the proposed squid apportionment split between local commercial and small-scale fishing, the Director-General, as the delegated authority in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998, has decided in terms of section 14(2), to apportion fifteen percent (15%) of the Squid Total Allowable Effort to the Small-scale Fisheries sector and 85% of the Squid Total Allowable Effort to the commercial squid sector.  As already explained this apportionment will be reviewed annually with the intention of increasing it to twenty-five percent over the next few years.

Small Scale Fishers in the Eastern Cape have welcomed the announcement and believe that it will enable them to feed their families and look after their communities. Chief Dion Spandel, Chairman of the Eastern Cape Khoisan Small Scale Fishers, applauded the department regarding the decision. “I know that it was not an easy decision for her (Minister Creecy), but it had to be taken. With the 15% that the department has put in our baskets, we can now go to sea and look at buying our own boats, sending our guys to some kind of training. It is really appreciated it,” said Chief Spandel. Andriaan.

The apportionment will take effect from the start of the upcoming squid season. In the coming weeks, the department will be engaging with the commercial and small-scale fishing sectors on how the apportionment will be implemented taking into account compliance with the relevant sector policies and the conditions of fishing in those respective sectors.

The squid sector is lucrative and to ensure optimal management and sustainability, the department will be introducing a Capacity Management Regime in the commercial and small-scale squid sector to better manage fishing effort in the sector in future.

The Record of Decision on the split is available on the link here

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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How do people make paper out of trees, and why not use something else?

By Beverly Law


Paper is an important part of modern life. People use it in school, at work, to make artwork and books, to wrap presents and much more. Trees are the most common ingredient for paper these days, but people have been taking notes and creating artworks for a very long time using lots of other kinds of surfaces and materials.

Humans painted pictures on cave walls during the Ice Age. The oldest known drawing, found on a small rock in South Africa, was made 73,000 years ago.

Written language came a long time later. The Sumerians, in what is now Iraq, and the Egyptians used pictures in the first written languages more than 5,000 years ago.

These people etched cuneiform and hieroglyph pictures that formed their languages into rock. They also wrote on slabs of wet clay, using a pen or brush made from a reed. Sometimes they baked these slabs hard in ovens to preserve them.

Ancient Egyptian manuscript written and drawn on papyrus, dating to 1275 B.C. British Museum

The Egyptians pioneered the first paper. Papyrus came from a 15-foot-tall (4.5 meter) plant of the same name that grew in marshlands along the Nile River. They cut the stalk into thin strips, pressed them together and dried them into the long rolls you can now see preserved in museums. They wrote in ink, which didn’t smudge or blur on this new paper. Papyrus made it easy to carry their writing with them in rolled up scrolls – much easier than carting around heavy clay tablets and rocks.

Wood tablets covered in beeswax became a popular writing material in Greece, Rome and Egypt. Children used them in school as you might use notebooks today. Heating the wax made it easy to erase the writing and reuse the tablets.

Wax writing tablets from a Greek school ‘notebook’ used around 2,000 years ago. British Library

The Romans took the next step, making books with papyrus pages. Special manuscripts used pages made of treated calf skin.

In China, ancient writing materials included bone, bronze and wood. But then, a little more than 2,000 years ago, the Chinese invented a different kind of paper. Early on, it was made from the hemp plant, washed and soaked in water until it was soft. Then it was beaten into a gooey pulp with a wooden mallet and smoothed into a flat frame to dry.

It took Europeans another 800 years to finally start making paper. They cut up, soaked and treated linen and cotton rags. A half a century later, in 1690, the first rag-paper mill came to the American Colonies.

This human-made forest is planted with gum tree saplings that will eventually be harvested. ChrisVanLennepPhoto/iStock via Getty Images

But as people used more and more paper, rags grew scarce. There were more trees than rags, so trees became the raw material. The first U.S. newspaper that was printed on paper made from ground-up wood was the Jan. 14, 1863, edition of the Boston Weekly Journal.

So how do people make paper out of trees today? Loggers cut trees, load them onto trucks and bring them to mills. Machines slice off the bark, and big wood chippers chop the logs into small bits. Those chips are boiled into a soup that looks like toothpaste. To get out any lumps, it is smashed flat, dried and cut up into sheets of paper.

The entire process, from planting a seedling to buying your school notebook, takes a very long time. Just growing the trees takes 10 to 20 years.

Making tons of paper from trees can harm the planet. Humans cut down 80,000 to 160,000 trees around the world every day, and use many of them to make paper. Some of those trees come from tree farms. But loggers also cut down forests for paper, which means that animals and birds lose their homes.

Cutting forests down also contributes to climate change, and paper factories pollute the air. After you throw paper in the trash, a truck takes it to a dump, where it takes six to nine years to decompose.

That’s why recycling is important. It saves a lot of trees, slows climate change and helps protect endangered animals, birds and all creatures that rely on forests for their homes and food.

Did you know that it takes 24 trees to make one ton of paper, which is about 200,000 sheets? You may use a piece of paper one or two times, but it can be recycled five to seven times. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees. If it’s recycled seven times, it saves 117 trees.

So if paper isn’t good for the environment, why don’t people write on something else? The answer: They do. With computers, tablets and cellphones, people use much less paper than in the past. Maybe a day will come when we won’t use paper at all – or will save it for very special books and artworks.

Courtesy of The Conversation

  1. Beverly LawProfessor Emeritus of Global Change Biology and Terrestrial Systems Science, Oregon State University
Disclosure statement

Beverly Law does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Forestry and forest products sector releases global sustainability progress report

The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) has released its biennial Sustainability Progress Report which demonstrates progress in seven key areas of sustainability: sustainable forest management, renewable energy, greenhouse gas, and suplhur dioxide emissions, water use, health and safety, and recycling. The 2021 report also highlights the forest products sector’s global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

ICFPA serves as a forum of global dialogue, coordination and co-operation. Currently, the ICFPA represents 18 pulp, paper, wood and fibre-based associations that encompass 28 countries, including many of the top pulp, paper and wood producers around the world. The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report shows progress on nearly all of the sector’s performance indicators, using the most recent data available (2018-2019).

“In the face of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, we are reminded that the global forestry sector has the potential to address some of our most urgent social, environmental, and economic challenges,” noted ICFPA President Derek Nighbor. Nighbor is President and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada. “Forestry workers and forest products are in the unique position to drive our move to a lower-carbon world through sustainable forest management, advancing the forest bioeconomy, and recovering more paper and paper-based packaging for recycling.”

Key progress on ICFPA’s sustainability performance indicators include:

  • In 2019, 52.6% of procured wood fibre came from third-party certified sustainably-managed forests, a 41 percentage point increase from the 2000 baseline year.
  • Greenhouse gas emission intensity decreased 21% from the 2004/2005 baseline year.
  • The energy share of biomass and other renewable fuels increased to 64.9%, a 12 percentage point increase since 2004/2005.
  • Sulphur dioxide emission intensity from on-site combustion sources decreased 77% from the 2004/2005 baseline year and 38% from the previous report.
  • Water use intensity decreased 12.5% from the baseline year.
  • Investment in health and safety interventions yielded a 30% reduction in the global recordable incident rate from the 2006/2007 baseline with the number of recordable incidents falling to 2.88 per 100 employees annually.
  • In 2019, 59.1% of paper and paperboard consumed globally was used by mills to make new products, marking a 12.6 percentage point increase in the global recycling rate since the year 2000.

“As a sector, both globally and locally, we continue to make a positive impact and meaningful progress in areas of sustainability, society and the economy, providing citizens with a renewable resource in the form of sustainably produced wood, cellulose and paper products,” said Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) and member of the ICFPA Steering Committee. “Wood in its various forms not only meets essential daily needs, it also provides a raw material for conventional and innovative alternatives for sustainable packaging.”

The 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report also includes the 2021 International Finalists for the prestigious ICFPA Blue Sky Young Researchers and Innovation Award. The theme for the 2020-2021 Blue Sky Awards was “Boosting the Forest Bioeconomy: Nature-Based Solutions Toward a Lower Carbon Economy.”

To view or download the 2021 ICFPA Sustainability Progress Report, please visit: ICFPA 2020-2021 Sustainability Progress Report.

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Environmental plan for construction of SKA published

Amendments to the Integrated Environmental Management Plan required to manage the impacts associated with the development of the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in the Northern Cape, without further environmental approval required, have been published.

“The amendments are necessary, as the proposed construction camps would pose a risk to the optimal functioning of the Meerkat radio telescopes currently in operation,” the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said.

The amendments include the acknowledgement of the declaration of portions of the SKA site as the Meerkat National Park; the increase in the size of the land core area; the development of a perimeter road along the boundary fence; and the development of a solar farm to contribute to the electricity needs of the facility.

The Adoption of Amended Chapter 2 and Chapter 5 of the Integrated Environmental Management Plan for Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array and Amendment to the Conditions of Exclusion were published by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

They were published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act in Government Gazette 44230 (Notice No. 250) on 25 March 2020.

“An amendment to the originally adopted plan was requested by the National Research Foundation, the organisation that is responsible for the development of the SKA.

To support the request for amendments, additional environmental assessments were undertaken and it was concluded that the activities would not impact negatively on the environment. 

It was therefore decided that the amendments to the original plan be approved.

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Name change for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Department

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The formation of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is complete now that all the relevant officials have been transferred to the newly amalgamated department.

This follows the announcement of the sixth administration in 2019, were the forestry and fisheries functions were amalgamated into the Department of Environmental Affairs, which became know the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

The department said in a statement on Wednesday that the name of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) will change on 1 April 2021.

The DEFF will in future be known as the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

The substitution and designation of names for National Department and Office of the Premiers and heads thereof was published in Government Gazette 44229 (Notice No. 172) in terms of the Public Service Act on 5 March 2021.

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Address by Minister Barbara Creecy during debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA)

National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town, 17 February 2021

I would like at the outset to acknowledge and applaud the role our President has played in these extremely challenging times and compliment him on the SONA address, which highlights the urgent need to defeat this coronavirus pandemic and build an economy for all sixty million South Africans.

Our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan prioritises the need to overcome abiding constraints and provide sustainable solutions to intractable problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment! Central to the plan’s objectives, in the words of our President: “to forge a new economy in a new global reality.”

Climate change is one of those new global realities. The 2021 Global Risks Report published in January this year under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, identified infectious diseases, livelihood crises and extreme weather events as the risks most likely to become critical threats to the world in the coming two years.

Zurich Insurance Group chief risk officer, Peter Giger quipped “there is no vaccine against climate risks, so post-pandemic recovery plans must focus on growth aligned with sustainable agendas”.

Climate change poses both risks and opportunities to our society and economy.  On the risk side extreme weather events including storms, droughts, and rising sea levels, are already part of our lived reality.

In the last week of January, more than 20 people died in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and South Africa, as a result of the destruction caused by tropical cyclone Eloise. We were reminded once again how vulnerable the developing world is to extreme weather events.

Nevertheless, due to the advanced early warning systems of our SA Weather Service, and the impressive coordinated response of our Disaster Management capability, at national, provincial and local government level, we were able to take advance measures to manage some of the worst impacts of the storm on both people and infrastructure.

This process was assisted by the implementation by all levels of government of adaptation strategies arising from the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that was approved by Cabinet last year.

What we now need is a better and more mainstream understanding of the climate transition risk our historical growth trajectory poses to the long-term sustainability of our economy and society.

Over the last year, in response to investor and societal pressure, nine of the world’s twelve largest economies, and many of our major trading partners, have already made net-zero carbon commitments.

These countries include China, the EU bloc, Japan, and Korea. Similar pronouncements are expected from the Biden Administration now that it has announced it will re-join the Paris Agreement.

Because our energy and production processes are highly carbon-intensive, our major trading partners, who have made net zero commitments, are likely to prioritise trade with other low carbon economies. This poses a risk of non -tariff trade barriers going forward.

Already there is increasing pressure from financial institutions who refuse to fund the development of new carbon-intensive assets.

In his address last week President Ramaphosa did not shy away from these challenges nor did he fail to indicate how we must address them.

In noting that Eskom, our largest greenhouse gas emitter has committed in principle to net-zero carbon emission by 2050, the President stressed the importance of the work of the Presidential Climate Change Commission that will meet for the first time this month.

This Commission must develop a clear plan to take us from an aspirational commitment to a low carbon, climate-resilient economy and society to the reality of new technology, new investment and above all new jobs. 

The Commission will provide the much-needed institutional mechanism to bring together government, civil society, business and labour to advise government on the just transition.

It will further leverage partnerships and collaboration across all relevant sectors to implement programmes that encapsulate the just transition in a coherent and coordinated manner.

In this regard, it is important to note, Honourable members, that yesterday Eskom announced it will shortly release a call for proposals to repower and repurpose Komati power station in Mpumalanga. Studies to facilitate similar initiatives are underway for Hendrina, Grootvlei and Camden.

Investment in the green economy and green technologies provides strategic advantages for our country: it opens access to new green financing opportunities; it offers the possibility of significant proven job creation; it has potential to localise production and services which will build small and medium enterprises and of course it enhances our long-term competitiveness while mitigating our transition risks.

The green industries component included in our own Reconstruction and Recovery Plan highlights the diversification of South Africa’s energy sources; retrofitting public and private buildings to improve energy and water efficiency; revitalisation of eco-tourism, hard hit by travel bans; research and development in the agricultural space of drought-resistant crops and cultivation methods; support for small farmers in the forestry space; and building the circular economy in the waste management space.

Honourable members allow me to report to this house some of the significant achievements in the green economy space to date:

2018 research, conducted by the SA Biodiversity Institute, indicated that the biodiversity economy currently creates over 418 thousand jobs across the tourism, wildlife, biotrade, bioprospecting, and the fisheries and forestry sectors. 

To support rural communities adversely affected by the decline of tourism we have through the support of the Presidential Employment Stimulus created 50 000 work opportunities, almost ten thousand of which are in our national parks and involve infrastructure repairs and upgrades so that our facilities are in good shape when international tourism returns.

This year we will, through the Forestry Master Plan begin the re-capitalisation of our somewhat neglected state-owned forests. Our Department will partner with the private sector and communities in KZN, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. This initiative will result in the development of Owner Growers and co-operatives, a major transformation initiative in the forestry sector.

We are currently finalising consultation around our Section 18 Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes for the packaging, electronics and lighting sectors.

We estimate that once fully implemented these schemes will assist us to divert a hundred thousand tons of waste a year from landfills; provide secure employment to more than twenty thousand people and ensure more than seven billion rand in new investment.

Change too is coming in the manufacturing space, in July last year, Toyota announced it will start production on Africa’s first hybrid petrol-electric car at its prospection plant in Durban, as part of an R2.5-billion investment in a new production line.

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) has by the end of June 2020, delivered capacity to produce 4200 MW of power. This capacity has already offset 50-million tonnes of carbon dioxide and saved us almost 60-million kilo-litres of water.

This programme has created 52 600 jobs, attracted R 210 billion in investment, pumped R1.2 billion in socio-economic development initiatives in local communities and promoted 33% ownership by historically disadvantaged South Africans. 

Electricity prices have dropped significantly over the four bid windows and are now below one rand per kilowatt hour. Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome the President’s announcement of two further Bid windows later this year.

As emphasised by President Ramaphosa, in his SONA address, South Africa remains committed to multilateralism and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

To this end, we will be undertaking a series of public consultations on revising our Nationally Determined Contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions before submitting the final document to the UNFCCC ahead of the 26th Conference of Parties scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November this year.

South Africa will continue to work with African countries, and other partners under the UNFCCC to ensure COP26 focuses on enhancing ambition on the three goals of the Paris Agreement, namely, mitigation, adaptation and finance.

I thank you

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Wildlife zones introduced to Project Rhino

Seven Integrated Wildlife Zones are being introduced across South Africa to protect the country’s rhino.

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