DAFF authorises rights transfers from Viking Group to Sea Harvest

Published by FiskerForum, 16-04-2018 · info@fiskerforum.dk

The request for authorisation was received in December, and now South Africa’s Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has approved the acquisition of Viking Fishing fishing rights by the Sea Harvest Group for an amount reported to be in excess of 130 million Rand (€8.75 million).

The agreement had already been reached between the two companies, but needed to be cleared by DAFF to allow the 34 separate Viking Fishing rights across nine fishing sectors to be transferred.

The Sea Harvest Corporation consortium includes SeaVuna Fishing Company (Pty) Ltd, Nalitha Investments (Pty) Ltd and the South African Fishing Empowerment Corporation (Pty) Ltd. The latter two companies are new entrants to the fishing industry that are wholly black-owned. Although the entities are per se new entrants, their directors and shareholders have commercial and executive-level experience in the South African fishing industry and the fast moving consumer goods sector.

‘The transaction will not only bolster black economic empowerment in South Africa’s leading and most valuable commercial fisheries such as hake deep-sea trawl, horse mackerel, hake inshore trawl, small pelagic (pilchards and anchovies) and KZN prawn trawl, but it confirms an investor confidence in the manner in which our commercial fisheries are being managed, including the legally sustainable allocation of long term fishing rights,’DAFF stated.

‘The decision to authorise the transaction involved the consideration of a number of complex legal, economic and social issues including the reduction of the number of right holders in certain fishery sectors and the increase of quota to consortium members in the hake deep- sea trawl and horse mackerel fishery sectors.’

According to DAFF, the decision sought to equitably balance various objectives, given that our hake, pilchard and horse mackerel fishing quotas remain under biological pressure and the need to consolidate the number of right holders (albeit recognising the statutory need to transform the fisheries and introduce new entrants) coupled with the international trade, supply and demand issues that affect these fisheries and the imperative to give effect to the Chapter 6 provisions of the National Development Plan, all the while ensuring that small right holders in these fisheries remain available to access vessels, processors and markets.

The decision to authorise the transfer of the 34 fishing rights is subject to a number of technical fishery specific and certain general conditions including that, all employees currently employed by the Viking Group of Companies shall be transferred to the applicable purchasers on the same terms and conditions regulating their current employment, fishing vessel effort and processing factory output is to remain unchanged relative to TAC and allocated rights to ensure that small right holders in the respective fisheries remain able to competitively negotiate access to these.

A further requirement is that at least 5% of the purchasing consortium’s horse mackerel quota shall be caught on vessels other than the Desert Diamond (the only dedicated midwater trawler in SA and owned by the Oceana Group) and that progressively this amount shall be increased to 11.11% of the horse mackerel TAC within 10 years of the approval of the transaction; and the purchasing consortium shall also progressively process at least 5% of the total horse mackerel TAC on-land with the objective of creating further employment in South African fishing processing factories.

Source: DAFF

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