Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. File photo: David Ritchie

Johannesburg - The fisheries department announced on Tuesday that the tender for the fisheries patrol management and research vessels would be divided into two separate tenders.

“The tenders are envisaged to assist in broadening the scope of participation to include both smaller and larger players into the fisheries industry; and to contribute to employment,” it said in a statement.

The tenders are expected to be advertised late in March.

Deputy director general of the fisheries department Greta Apelgren-Narkedien said the sector faced “challenges” in certain areas.

A meeting between the department and members of the portfolio committee offered an opportunity to inspect issues in the sector.

“Today's meeting has given us an opportunity to assess our operations and to flag all the worrying areas. There are a number of issues that we need to place a close eye in,” Apelgren-Narkedien said.

“The encouraging point is that our critical research missions have been completed, and those that are still outstanding are not going to be jeopardised.”

A turnaround strategy for the fisheries branch of the department was recommended on how to better deal with problems in the branch, she said.

The state of the vessel fleet, the research surveys and the long-term fishing rights allocation processes were also discussed.

A media briefing would be held next week to provide further details on the intervention plans, the department said. - Sapa