Obituary. Jim Tucker, a Loss to the Chokka Industry

By admin on Oct 13 in Local news, SAPFIA news.

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[ Accessed on the 9th October 2020 ]

Jim Tucker, stalwart of the Eastern Cape chokka industry, has passed away from COVID-19 complications. He was 67.

Jim, his wife, Ady and daughter, Jamie, contracted COVID-19 in July.

While the two women recovered, Jim was admitted to hospital where he struggled with the virus for weeks until he passed away on 3 September.

Sadly, Fishing Industry News was not informed of this and only saw the obituary in The Herald newspaper today.

Jim’s thirst for life throughout his life put him in various precarious situations.

These included the salvage of the Oranjeland which ran aground off East London in 1974. In another diving incident in 1981 he was trapped for hours underwater in the North Sea.

He was also part of a 1981 international salvage operation to recover 450 Russian gold bars from the wreck of the HMS Edinburgh.

The ship had been torpedoed in World War 2.

Living on the edge was thrilling for Jim who also acquired a pilot license and took part several times in the President’s Trophy Air Race.

Then there were the Harley Davidsons bike rides, the bush and camping experiences and his treasured family life which gave him some stability.

All things fishing

Settling in his home-town of Port Elizabeth, Jim was straight talking and passionate about the sea and all things fishing. While building up a fishing business since the 1980s, he also became the owner of the South End KWIKSPAR.

Jim was a member of the South African Squid Management Industrial Association (SASMIA) for many years. He was an active participant in the development of the squid industry since the early 2000s.

This included participating in the MCM Scientific working group (2004). He also helped to provide a snapshot survey of the squid industry in respect of economics and transformation.

Jim came up with idea that the Effort Limitation Committee and Fishing Vessel Advisory Body incorporate a transformation factor into the application process.

MCM (now DEFF) liked the idea so much it took it to all the other sectors, starting with the deep sea trawl sector, as a precursor to the applications for long term rights.

Treatment of fishermen

Jim believed fishers should be well looked after and treated correctly. He pushed for the formation of EOCAF, the Employers’ Organisation for the Cephalopod and Associated Fisheries. Its purpose was to represent employers in the industry and address, amongst other things, human resource matters, including labour issues.

He was fully behind SASMIA’s objective to represent the squid fishery as an industrial body or interest group. This in terms of the Section 13 of the Sea Fisheries Act 1988 and to co-manage the fishery.

In late 2007 the Statutory Council for the Squid and Related Fisheries of South Africa (SCSI) was established. Its primary aim was to regulate labour in the squid fishing industry of South Africa.

In 2012, a ground-breaking agreement on minimum conditions of employment in the squid fishing industry was signed by four of the five parties represented at the Statutory Council for the Squid and Related Fisheries of South Africa (SCSI).

An agreement was also concluded and signed by the same four parties, pertaining to minimum remuneration and remuneration related matters for squid fishermen.

These two agreements, for the first time, afforded squid fishermen protection regarding employment conditions and remuneration.

It goes without saying then that Jim was not impressed when he heard about the 2018 launch of the booklet: Let us not be slaves until we die: the lives of chokka fishers.

Published by the Eastern Cape Black Fishers’ Association and the Centre for Integrated Post-school Education and Training (CIPSET), Jim was annoyed that his artwork had been used on the cover without his knowledge.

Offshore activity

In the last decade, Jim supported SASMIA’s objections to Eskom’s proposed established of a nuclear power plant at Thyspunt, close to Oyster Bay, some 10km from Cape St Francis.

SASMIA also objected to proposed seismic survey activity in the Pletmos basin targeted for oil and gas exploration. Also to the sea-based aquaculture development zone in Algoa Bay, specifically the southern part of Algoa 1 which overlaps with the squid breeding area.

Almost certainly Jim would wish that the chokka industry continue to ride out the ups and downs it is presented with and that its people never lose interest in developments that might possibly affect it.

As his family wrote in The Herald obituary: “We’re very sad that he is gone.” No doubt this will be echoed across the South African fishing industry.

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[ Accessed on the 9th October 2020 ]

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