Small-scale fishers not happy with TAE allocation

Small-scale fishers are not happy with the Total Allowable Efforts allocation. Picture: Tracey Adams Independent Newspapers

Small-scale fishers are not happy with the Total Allowable Efforts allocation. Picture: Tracey Adams Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 10, 2024


Cape Town - The Masifundise Development Trust has expressed dissatisfaction with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment's recent announcement of the Traditional Linefish Total Allowable Efforts (TAE), saying it is inadequate.

The department recently published a notice announcing Traditional Linefish TAE, which will have an impact on both commercial and small-scale fishers for the 2024–2025 fishing season.

The department announced that from Port Nolloth to Cape Infanta, the allocation for the Global TAE 340 standard vessels for the local commercial sector is 281 vessels, while the small-scale fishing sector received an allocation of 59 vessels.

From Cape Infanta to Port St Johns, the allocation for global TAE is 64, local commercial is 52, and small-scale is 12. For KwaZulu-Natal, global TAE is 51, local commercial is 45, and smallscale is 6.

The department added that catch data is to be collected from all sectors harvesting linefish, including smallscale and recreational sectors, to ensure catches can be counted in four main fish stock assessments.

“The impact of other fisheries on linefish stocks is to be reduced, in particular, large by-catch in the trawl, tuna-pole, squid, and hake-handline fisheries, through proper monitoring, consistent reporting, and management.”

Masifundise said in the Western Cape and Northern Cape, the designated TAE for Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) represents only 17.3% of the overall TAE allocation.

“While we acknowledge that the previous allocation of Interim Relief (IR) was included in the allocation to SSF, this is not sufficient.

“The number of people recognised under IR is smaller than the current total number of recognised small-scale fishermen (SSF). This means that SSF is receiving significantly less than the previous IR allocation,” said Carmen Mannarino, Masifundise programme manager.

She said that given the significance of traditional linefish as a key species supporting the livelihoods and food security of fishing communities yearround, this shortfall will exacerbate the already vulnerable situation of coastal communities, particularly in rural areas.

This allocation equates to an average of five to six boats for each of the 64 co-operatives, further highlighting the inadequacy of the allocation.

“In the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the allocation designated for SSF stands at 18.7% (equivalent to 12 boats) and 11.7% (six boats), respectively.

“This allocation is to be distributed among the two provinces, which collectively host 109 SSF cooperatives comprising over 7 000 recognised SSFs,” Mannarino said.

“Having endured years of marginalisation, criminalisation, and persistent exclusion from the fisheries sector, this decision by the DFFE entrenches this marginalisation and consequently exacerbates food insecurity and hampers local economic development within fishing communities.”

She said the department continues to prioritise the profits of a few over the food security and local economic development of many.

The department said that in determining the TAE for the 2024–2025 traditional linefish fishing season, further consideration was given to the effort distribution among the commercial and small-scale fishing sectors and therefore applying an apportionment split among the sectors that is in line with the best available scientific and management recommendations.

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