Since 1918, Oceana has been turning fishing rights into shared value for a wide range of stakeholders – with the greatest efficiency, in Africa and beyond.
It is my pleasure to introduce Oceana’s sixth annual sustainable development report, providing a more detailed look at our contribution to society. Despite a challenging year, particularly with regard to currency fluctuations and lower global fishmeal prices, our commitment to delivering value to society remains strong and continues to strengthen.
We are an African company, efficiently converting global fishing resources into shared value. Giving expression to this purpose requires us to ask: What do we mean by shared value? What do we share? In what ways, and with whom?
These questions are not incidental to our operations; they epitomise what it means to be a company that depends on a natural resource – one that offers sustenance to Africa’s people into the future. Through responsible fishing, transformation and localisation, environmental management and inclusive supply chain partnerships, we are beginning to answer some questions, and ask others. I believe the right questions in this context guide the thinking and innovation that set us apart from our competitors.
As a group, we prefer to operate as a scale player, with a focus on delivering affordable protein. Scale provides a diversity of operations and activities that ensures greater resilience in the context of cyclical fishing patterns and market volatility. This, in turn, facilitates sustained benefits for employees, service providers and the communities in which we operate. Enhanced efficiencies enable a more cost-effective contribution to food security through low-cost protein. A well-maintained, efficient and reliable fishing fleet with state-of-the-art equipment can contribute to scientific surveys, the monitoring of the biomass’s health, and to appropriate permit requirements. Given this chain of effect, our contribution to society is inherently integrated into our core business. Three of Oceana’s five high-level business objectives require direct delivery on natural, human and social capital imperatives.
I am pleased to report progress on a number of commitments. We have expanded our protein footprint in Africa; investments in canning operations have enabled a more stable income for seasonal employees; and operational efficiency has been a central focus this year, with water, energy and waste management all showing measurable improvements. We are accountable to, amongst others, the 2 483 employees who hold shares through the Oceana Empowerment Trust.
Looking ahead, we will keep our focus on efficiency, seeking as far as possible to conserve resources. This is particularly relevant in the drought-stricken Western Cape, where a short-term focus on water efficiency is likely to be bolstered with water augmentation projects in the future. In the short to medium term, we will focus the needs of small-scale fishers, supporting partnerships to address the dual challenge of marine resource sustainability and a more diverse and resilient fishing sector. Corporate social investments will continue in all operating areas, expanding as we seek acquisitions to further enhance our protein footprint. In the longer term, our focus will turn to the bigger question of food security and the opportunities for aquaculture on the African continent. In implementing this long-term strategy, our research and development partnerships with government, academic institutions and civil society organisations will continue and strengthen.