World Oceans Day in SA

first_imgThe great white shark, a protected speciesin South Africa. (Image: Brian Skerry,National Geographic) Gansbaai, on South Africa’s south-westerncoast, is a well-known shark hotspot.(Image: Chas Everitt)Janine ErasmusSouth Africa commemorated World Oceans Day and the declaration of 2009 as the International Year of the Shark by highlighting the country’s continuing commitment to shark conservation.Water and Environmental Affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica hosted the commemorative event held on 8 June in Gansbaai (Afrikaans, meaning “bay of geese”) in the Western Cape, situated just south of Hermanus.The national theme for 2009 was “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future”, a message that highlights the need for careful consideration of the oceans in any climate change strategy.World Oceans Day falls in South Africa’s national environment month of June, which also focuses on climate change in 2009.The ocean and the atmosphere are closely linked, as the ocean generates oxygen and soaks up excess carbon dioxide – some experts say as much as 40% of all carbon dioxide produced by human activity. The ocean also provides millions of people with food and a livelihood, and its health and the future survival of all living creatures are inextricably bound.This is the first observation of World Oceans Day, which was declared by the United Nations as 8 June each year, starting in 2009 with the official theme of “Our Oceans, Our Responsibility”.Shark conservationSonjica described South Africa’s continuing progress towards a better understanding of the importance of sharks.“For several years we have committed to study these animals both for improving our understanding of their often secretive behaviour and for understanding our marine ecosystems,” she said. “South Africa, in addition to our research efforts, has also taken management measures to reduce the impact of fisheries on sharks.”Sonjica announced that South Africa is to terminate all pelagic shark fishing in its waters by the end of 2009. No new permits have been granted since 2005 and South Africa is currently in the final stage of phasing out the industry altogether.There are seven companies operating with special permission and the ministry plans to give these fisheries rights in swordfish and tuna longline fishing only, with sharks as a bycatch.The ministry has also reduced the number of right holders in the demersal, or bottom-dwelling, shark longline fishery to just six, and will monitor populations of the relevant species to determine whether further reductions are needed.Dignitaries at the event were treated to a cage dive, where they were able to see the sleek creatures at close range in their own habitat. They also learned about shark tagging and the numerous ways in which tagging helps scientists gather valuable information about the movement and population of sharks.Shark attractionCage diving with great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) is Gansbaai’s primary tourist attraction, and the town is viewed as a major great white hub. Whale watching is another tourist drawcard, with southern right whales often seen in the waters around the town.Ecotourism contributes at least US$6.1-million (R50-million) every year to South Africa’s GDP. Sonjica added that proposals currently under consideration may soon see the shark, together with the whale, marketed as part of the big seven – that is, the big five plus the two marine mammals that bring so many visitors to South Africa’s shores.Dyer Island, 8km off Gansbaai’s shore, is a nature reserve for marine birds and a well-known site for shark conservation efforts.Protected speciesSouth Africa has always led the way in shark conservation. In 1991 the country became the first ever to classify the great white shark as a protected species and to ban outright the killing of the magnificent creatures within 320km of its coastline.South Africa was followed by Namibia, Maldives, Malta, the US, and Australia in introducing legislation to protect sharks. The great white is currently classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Other sharks under threat include the black shark, the Chilean angel shark, the dusky shark, the leopard shark and the great hammerhead. There are over 200 species of shark on the IUCN Red List of endangered animals.A number of shark conservation programmes operate in South Africa, among them the White Shark Trust in the Dyer Island area, the White Sharks Projects based in Kleinbaai, south of Gansbaai, and Oceans Research based in Mossel Bay.The Natal Sharks Board has promoted the conservation of sharks for over 40 years. In mid-2008 the SOS Foundation (Save Our Seas) opened a shark research and education centre in Kalk Bay, south of Cape Town on the Cape peninsula.National plan of actionThe great white has gained an almost mythological reputation as a ruthless killer, a state of affairs perpetrated by the media, but the truth is that this predator does not specifically target humans.Experts believe many of the attacks happen through sheer curiosity, with the shark biting the unfamiliar object in the water just to see what it is. In most cases the shark releases the victim immediately, and the majority of fatalities occur through subsequent loss of blood.As predators, sharks also play a vital role in the balance of the marine ecosystem. However, the animals are threatened by wholesale slaughter of their numbers for shark fin soup, commercial longline fishing and the associated tragedy of bycatch, and habitat loss.South Africa plans to publish its national plan of action for the conservation and management of sharks, based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation‘s 1977 international plan of action, later in 2009. The international document encourages countries to draft their own national plans and contribute to the worldwide effort to save the shark.“This will place us as a world leader in shark conservation and management where we rightly belong,” said Sonjica, adding that strategies likely to be covered by the plan include research on sharks and shark attacks, marine protected areas and the protection of sharks within those areas, and collaboration with other countries in shark research.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSaving our vulnerable sharksSouth Africa’s shark whispererBig fish, big teeth, big bucksCagey crafts from cage divingUseful linksInternational Year of the SharkSouth African White Shark Research InstituteWhite Shark ProjectsWhite Shark TrustOceans ResearchDepartment of Water and Environmental Affairslast_img read more

Van der Merwe lifts Soweto Open title

first_img18 April 2011Izak van der Merwe went one step better than he did in 2010 when he captured the Soweto Open men’s singles title at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Jabavu after a hard-fought battle against fellow South African Rik de Voest on Sunday.The final had been moved back a day because of rain and rain, once again, made an appearance in the final, forcing the players from the court for over two hours with Van der Merwe leading 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 3-2, and the contest on serve. Ultimately, he went on to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory.The victory, his second in a Challenger Tour event, has lifted Van der Merwe to a career-high ranking of 134th in the world.Last year, he made it into the final but was beaten by Dustin Brown. This time around the fourth-seed made sure of success by defeating the German 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) in a hard-fought semi-final.Tie-breakersIt was far from an easy walk to the title for the big-serving South African who played tie-breakers in every one of his matches.Van der Merwe began his title challenge with a tough 7-5, 7-6 win over Englishman Daniel Cox in his first round match. He followed that up by sending another Englishman packing after defeating Chris Eaton 6-4, 7-6.In the quarterfinals, he faced seventh-seed Andrej Martin and once again it proved to be a tight contest. Van der Merwe won it 7-6, 7-6, claiming both tie-breakers 7-2.Path to the finalOn his way to the final, De Voest, the sixth-seed, recorded victories over fellow South African Raven Klaasen, Denys Molchanov, and Michal Przysiezny before facing Australian Greg Jones in the final.It took a gritty comeback for De Voest to win a match that was interrupted by rain. When the heavens opened, he was 3-6, 4-3 down, but went on to win 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.In the final, he became the only player in the tournament to win a tie-breaker against Van der Merwe. By reaching the title-decider, he improved his world ranking to 158th.Women’s titleThe women’s honours went the way of Russia’s Valeria Savinykh, who proved to be a giant killer on her way to lifting the title.She ousted fourth-seed Eva Birnerova 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round. Then, after an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Oksana Kalashnikova in the second round, she upset seventh-seed Corinna Dentoni 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.Savinykh followed that up by disposing of top-seed Ann Keothavong in the semi-finals when the Briton retired at 6-3, 3-0 down.In the final, second-seed Petra Cetkovska proved no much for the 20-year-old Russian, who cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory and the biggest win of her career.South African women failed to make an impact as none of the four players in the draw made it out of the first round.DoublesGermany’s Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Peya of Austria claimed the men’s doubles title with a convincing 6-2, 6-2 victory over South African-born Australian Matthew Ebden and Germany’s Andre Bergemann.Sadly, the women’s doubles final was a victim of the weather and was not played.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

SA-shot

first_img Because of the political situation in Somalia, Buckley decided to shoot it in South Africa, which is increasingly being recognised as a favourable film production destination. “[The result is] a film whose entire cast is made up of refugees who fled to South Africa,” Jarjoura says. The film’s leading actors, Harun and Ali Mohammed, were illiterate when filming started. “They came from a family of 16 children who had fled war-torn Somalia to South Africa six months earlier,” Buckley says. “No they had the daunting task of memorising 19 pages of dialogue in front of a camera with a director who didn’t know how to say anything but ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in Somali. “And yet, five long shoot days later, we ended up capturing a little bit of these boys’ spirit. And a little bit of a forgotten country’s soul.” SAinfo reporter 17 January 2013 South African-set short film Asad, featuring Somali refugees living in Cape Town, has a fully stocked trophy cabinet but is looking to pick up one more award after being nominated for an Oscar in the “best short film” category. The film has already scooped up 13 awards from festivals around the world, including the Tribeca, Raindance and Los Angeles film festivals, for its portrayal of a Somali boy refugee named Asad. Shot in Paternoster on the Cape west coast, which was transformed into what looked like a traditional Somali fishing village, the story follows the lives of ordinary Somalis who fled their war-torn homeland. The film was a collaboration between American director Bryan Buckley’s Hungry Man Films company and Cape Town producer Rafiq Samsodien from The Asylum. Buckley decided to do the film after he worked with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Kenya in 2010, when he shot a documentary called No Autographs to raise awareness about increasing numbers of refugees. “Upon returning to the United States, we made it our mission to continue to tell their untold stories, to shed light on the people of Somalia and their unfathomable struggles,” Asad producer Mino Jarjoura sayd on the film’s website.last_img read more

Pressjack’s Digital Magazine Thinks Beyond the App

first_imgPublishers are looking to get in on the magazine-layout aggregation app game, swimming in the waters currently inhabited by tablet apps like Flipboard, Zite, and News.me. Pressjack, a publishing tool created by former publishers, is looking to create the same look and feel of those applications in your browser.The idea is simple – take RSS and social feeds and turn them in to a branded, slick user interface. Pressjack is an attempt to make it easy and intuitive to publish on the Web with existing tools and, for once, not let the Silicon Valley startups eat their lunch.According to The Next Web, Pressjack is aimed squarely at publishers. We downloaded a free trial of the app and it looks like it is a simple tool that brings in RSS feeds and repackages them. It is still in early beta and the trial application is a little buggy but it looks like the ability to turn a feed into a branded, browser-based magazine is a straightforward process.The outcome, in theory, should be a Flipboard-like experience. This is both forward thinking and backward thinking. Pressjack was created by Trinity Innovations, a company founded by former publishers in 2004.“As ex-publishers, we understanding that publishers already had the skills in-house, all they needed was a software solution that automated the conversion of content into a digital magazine format,” the company says on its site.”The publishing industry, with a few exceptions like the New York Times, has been miles behind in the thought race to create new and interesting ways to consume content on the Web. Yet, Pressjack is not exactly unique nor is it the only way to create browser-based magazines. InMag has offered the same type of functionality for a while and Good Noows makes an decent-looking browser aggregation interface.The hope for something like Pressjack is that it does not become a static interface in the browser. People are still having nightmares of the late 1990s and early 2000s when a lot of publishers tried to put their content on the Web via a PDF magazine that was essentially a scanned version of the print product. Tools like RSS and Twitter feeds change how content can be curated and presented.Trinity Innovations’ vision is an interesting one. Instead of a going to a news site and navigating through the classic browser interface, the Web could be comprised of more attractive online magazines that are sleeker, more intuitive and easier to sell ads against. Where does Pressjack aim to take content? Into the future or back 10 years? dan rowinski Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#Publishing Services#web last_img read more