The South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) has elected Sea Harvest chief executive Felix Ratheb as the Association’s new chair, taking over from his Sea Harvest colleague, Terence Brown, who chaired the Association for the past three years.
‘I am excited to take up the chairmanship of SADSTIA,’ Felix Ratheb said.
‘The hake deep-sea trawl fishery is a South African success story – it is sustainable, highly transformed and makes a massive socio-economic contribution, especially in the coastal provinces. I am eager to represent the fishery and the interests of our members.’
He has a background of more than 17 years in the fishing industry, having joined Sea Harvest as a commercial manager in 2003, was promoted to group sales & marketing director in 2006, and group CEO in 2013. He has represented Sea Harvest at SADSTIA since 2013 and served as a trustee on the board of the Marine Stewardship Council from 2016 to 2019. He is also a board member and treasurer of the largest whitefish conference in the world, the Groundfish Forum, which is headquartered in Canada.
Felix Ratheb commented that the hake trawl fishery is currently being re-assessed for a fourth time by the Marine Stewardship Council. The fishery was first certified as sustainable by the MSC in 2004. Although the MSC standard that is being applied is more rigorous than the standard that has been applied over the past 16 years, SADSTIA is optimistic the fishery will be re-certified for a further five-year period early in 2021.
Other priorities for SADSTIA over the coming year will be working collaboratively with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the fishery, with the goal of preserving jobs.
‘This pandemic will have affected every one of our members, and company balance sheets will have been severely weakened. The industry needs to survive this because it is a large employer providing quality jobs in coastal towns, and it is a significant exporter,’ Felix Ratheb said.
Innocent Dwayi, employee and stakeholder relations manager at I&J, remains in the position of SADSTIA vice-chairman. He is also vice-chairman of the umbrella fisheries association FishSA.
Other members of the SADSTIA Executive Committee are Madoda Khumalo, strategic services executive at Sea Harvest, who chairs the SADSTIA Scientific Committee, Don Lucas, chief executive of Combined Fishing Enterprises, Jayesh Jaga, executive director responsible for the hake operations within Blue Continent Products (Oceana Group), and Terence Brown, operations director at Sea Harvest.
Johann Augustyn continues as secretary of SADSTIA, taking responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Association. He is assisted by Fisokuhle Mbatha, SADSTIA research assistant.