“It is indeed an honour and a privilege for Oceana to continue our support of co-operation between Government and the private sector in upholding this year’s theme,” began John Stephenson, marketing manager of Oceana Brands, at the start of his address during the official launch of National Marine Week and National Blue Flag at Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred on 17 October 2005.

The event was well attended by the deputy minister DEAT Ms Joyce Mabudafhasi, deputy director DEAT Dr N.Malan, acting mayor Clr S.Tandani, National Blue Flag coordinator Ms A. Kelly, councillors from all coastal centres vying for beach Blue Flag status, local environmentalists and lobbyists and sponsors.

Highlighting the theme, John continued, “Protect our marine resources for the benefit of all! Where better to start than with the youth of South Africa and in particular the young people in rural out-lying areas, close to the shorelines of our beautiful country?”

“It therefore gives me great pleasure, on behalf of Oceana and our Lucky Star Brand, to present you with the first copies of the Departments “Life in our Oceans” publication. We trust that this educational booklet will make a meaningful impact on everyday life in our schools.”

The deputy minister’s speech embraced the dual concepts of National Marine Week principles and what International Blue Flag beaches could deliver for tourism. She expressed appreciation of Oceana’s participation in the opening function and the Group’s continued support.

In announcing the donation of Lucky Star canned pilchards to MCM’s learner outreach projects, John said, “We are pleased to say that some 2 200 young learners will receive positive nutritional benefit from this. I believe the fish is being distributed to rural schools from the Alexandria area to as far afield as Umtata in the former Transkei, as well as to some of the poorer schools in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

“As we at Oceana demonstrate our commitment to the success of National Marine Week, we urge all parties to continue striving for the sustainable management of our coastline resources, along with job creation, poverty alleviation and economic growth.”