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Ocean Economy Under the Spotlight

May 11, 2017

The Presidency

An Oceans Bill is on the horizon.

Speaking at Operation Phakisa’s Ocean Economy Open Day in Durban, president Zuma indicated that the proposed legislation would see the light of day in 2015.

The bill would put a clear foundation for marine spatial planning in place.

Operation Phakisa was launched in July 2014. At the time it was decided that the ocean economy would be first on the agenda.

Operation Phakisa focuses on marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and marine protection services and ocean governance.

The approach flows from the Big Fast Results methodology employed by the Malaysian government to attain economic and government transformation.

According to the president, the “oceans have the potential to contribute up to 177 billion rand to the Gross Domestic Product and create just over one million jobs by 2033”.

The marine transport and manufacturing work stream will increase South Africa’s port capacity to repair oil tankers and oil rigs and boost local ship building capability.

The offshore oil and gas exploration stream will focus on drilling 30 exploration wells in ten years.

Attention will also be placed on ensuring “clarity and stability in the legislative framework governing offshore oil and gas, ensuring a “win-win” outcome for government, industry, and society”.

The setting up of a one-stop shop within the mineral resources department to assist with the offshore oil and gas exploration and production licensing process is also on the cards.

In terms of aquaculture, fish farms will be increased so that revenue from aquaculture grows from the current R500 million to R1.4 billion in 2019.

An Aquaculture Development Fund will also be established.

The Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance stream will draw up and implement an overarching governance plan by March 2015.

“The plan entails the protection of the ocean environment from all illegal activities and to promote its multiple socio-economic benefits with results by 2017”.

A national marine spatial planning framework will be formulated by December 2015.

Operation Phakisa will next turn its attention to the health sector.