Cape Town - The Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (Fadi) launched its net-making project in St Helena Bay with the aim of upskilling members from fishing communities with net-making abilities.
Fadi projects head Sulaiman Appolas said the project was part of their alternative livelihoods programmes which sought to create additional sources of income for coastal communities fighting unemployment, poverty and hunger.
The launch of the project was attended by representatives from various groups including the Transport Education Training Authority (Teta), South African Fisheries Fund, the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and Aquaponics Business, and included an actual net-making training for 30 community members aged 21 to 63.
The net-making classes, funded by the Teta, will begin next month and will take place over several weeks.
“Net-making is a skill, relatively easily trained, easily learnt with low-cost technology making it ideal for persons wanting to learn a skill that can be quickly converted to income generation. There is a market for these netting types, and to help with business viability learners will also be equipped with effective marketing skills,” said Appolas.
Appolas said the net-making initiative included teaching learners how to knit nets such as bakkie nets, storm nets, sport nets, pool nets and more.
Fad board member Selwyn Roup said: “The work really is designed to complement income from the sea, not to replace income from fishing. This is a skill that unemployed and under-employed people can use to help keep food on the table.
“The fight for equitable access, viable quotas and the economic development of poor coastal communities, this is a fight that must go on.”
Community member Bronwin September said: “We are all very glad for this as growing up in a coastal community and fishing household, not much opportunity comes our way and fishing in these times is hard, so this netting skills training is a chance for us to learn a practical skill and earn money from it to help our families.”
SA Fisheries Development Fund chief executive officer Dr Mark Botha said at the grassroots level basic initiatives such as these were really meaningful because it practically empowered persons from fishing communities in a quick turnaround time.
Saldanha Bay IDZ development programmes executive Patrick Lekabana welcomed the net-making initiative and said it fitted in with their approach of sustainable community engagement and development.