To: All Media
Issued by: Masifundise Development Trust
Date: 21 May 2024

Subject: Masifundise holds small protest action outside Oceans Economy Conference

Masifundise Development Trust, a non-profit organisation advocating for social, economic, climate and
environmental justice within small-scale fishing communities, will hold a small protest on Wednesday,
22 May 2024, outside the Oceans Economy Conference and Expo at the Cape Town International
Convention Centre (CTICC).

The Oceans Economy conference will take place 22-23 May 2024 and it is presented as a high-level
industry event that gathers key figures from the commercial and defence maritime industries. The
conference covers a wide range of topics, including logistics and shipping, offshore oil and gas, fisheries,
tourism, and maritime defence and security. Speakers include: Makhotso Sotyu, Deputy Minister of
Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and Sue Middleton, Chief Director: Fisheries Operations Support
at the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment (DFFE).

The Ocean Economy has been presented as a vehicle for sustainable development and economic growth.
In South Africa, the Ocean Economy is being implemented through Operation Phakisa, introduced in
2014 and the Ocean Economy Master Plan (OEMP). In both reiterations, the focus on the policy has been
to support extractive developments in the ocean space, including oil and gas explorations, ports
development, aquaculture, commercial fishing and expansion of Marine Protected Areas. While fishing
and coastal communities are the primary right-holders and users of the ocean, Ocean economy
developments have been highly exclusionary of fishing and coastal communities and their views.

Masifundise aims to highlight that conferences of this nature primarily cater to industry actors seeking to
exploit the ocean for profit through various activities such as marine transportation, commercial
fisheries, offshore oil and gas, and tourism. In this conference, no space was made for fishers and their
organisations to engage on the issues that will be discussed at the conference, including offshore oil and
gas exploration, updates on the OEMP and the state of SA Fishing Industry.
The exclusionary nature of the conference is reflected both on the targeting of business to attend the
conference to profile their business, have large audience exposure and improve their bottom line, and in
the price of the conference, which stands to 7950 ZAR for the two days.

This conference highlights the inherent challenges within the Ocean Economy and its associated
processes, revealing the beneficiaries of its expansion and the close ties between business and
government. Fishing communities have consistently emphasized their right to be involved in decisions
affecting them with the principle ‘nothing about us without us’. Consequently, Masifundise will be
staging a protest outside the conference venue.

Date: 22 May 2024
Time: 9 AM
Location: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Supported by:
The Green Connection

For further queries contact:
Carmen Mannarino – Co-director/Programme Manager
071 283 3179
Jordan Volmink – Media and Communication officer
079 145 5281

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