With the signing of an agreement for another two-year term of operating by the Responsible Fisheries Alliance, member organisations appointed seasoned fisheries biologist and head of WWF South Africa’s Environmental Programmes Unit, Dr Theressa Frantz, as the new RFA Chairperson.
Dr Frantz says her focus will be on ensuring that the RFA continues to play a leading role in implementing the ecosystem approach to fisheries, as well as demonstrating leadership in rebuilding relevant fish stocks, including that of bycatch species. “In some respects, this may require bold decisions about voluntarily implementing pioneering efforts. We are already seeing leadership demonstrated in some of the RFA-supported projects, like the real-time data capture on board fishing vessels, which has been talked about for many years. RFA members are now voluntarily taking this forward. Research and fishery improvement projects – which are available on the RFA website – are also demonstrating leadership,” she explains.
Dr Frantz started her career in what was previously known as the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in 1995, rising through the ranks in the Marine and Coastal Management branch.
She completed her tenure in the organisation as the Director of Offshore and High Seas Fisheries Management.
She later joined the South African National Biodiversity Institute as Director of Research and Monitoring, before joining WWF South Africa in September 2014. She has a particular affinity for the South African fisheries sector.
In her latest endeavour as a champion for healthy marine ecosystems, Dr Frantz will be chairing the Alliance’s steering committee. Since the Alliance started, Frantz is only the second woman and NGO representative from the science community to chair the RFA, following Dr Samantha Petersen who held the reigns in 2009.