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Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court handed down judgment in favour of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in the matter involving Viking Inshore Fishing.

The ongoing challenge to the decision made by the DAFF, in particular the Deputy Director General: Fisheries to include previously disadvantaged new entrants during its 2015/2016 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) has been brought to an end as the application to interdict such decision was dismissed with costs.

In a statement, Deputy Director General, Siphokazi Ndudane said the interdict, previously preventing existing and new entrants from participating in the sector has now been lifted.

Read also: Viking in fishing rights battle

“The court held that the DAFF explained fully the entire allocation process and gave reasonable explanations of its attempt to give effect to section 2(j) of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) as well as the Constitution.”

The order made by the court has vindicated the department’s attempts to ensure that new entrants in the Hake Inshore Trawl sector are able to utilise the fishing rights granted to them in terms of section 18 of the MLRA.

“The court said that the decision made by the DAFF cannot be said to be irrational, inexplicable or unreasonable.”

“This is a victory for both the department and small fishing companies who have been prevented from operating in the sector for the past 6 months,” said Ndudane.