Described as a milestone that will bring stability and enable rights holders to invest, modernise and protect jobs in fishery, the SA Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (Sadstia) has welcomed the allocation of long-term, 15-year rights in the deep-sea trawl fishery for hake.
Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) Minister Barbara Creecy announced her appeal decisions in the sector on October 4, with her decisions confirming the allocation of rights to 37 fishing companies.
“The announcement of the appeal decisions has finalised an extremely lengthy and demanding rights allocation process,” said Sadstia chairperson, Innocent Dwayi.
“We are confident that this milestone will usher in a period of stability that will enable rights holders to invest, modernise and protect jobs in our fishery. The hake deep-sea trawling industry catches about 84% of the annual allowable catch for hake and safeguarding the sustainability, international competitiveness and socio-economic well-being of the industry is of paramount importance, not only to our members but to the South African economy as a whole.”
Dwayi said the sector delivered R8.5 billion to the economy each year, sustaining around 6 600 jobs.
Sadstia noted that changes have taken place in the fishery sector since the early 1990s, and the government’s latest estimates put the ownership of fishing rights by black individuals and companies at 86%.
Dwayi said that in the coming 15 years, Sadstia looked forward to working in partnership with DFFE.
The association also plans to participate in a process to update and amend the Marine Living Resources Act, which governs the management of small-scale, recreational and commercial fisheries in South Africa.
Creecy said she kept smaller entities in mind during the appeal process.
“At the forefront of my consideration of the hake deep-sea trawl appeals was the need transform the commercial sector while maintaining the stability of the sector.
“In so doing, I was required to balance the need to admit new entrants into the sector with the need to achieve an equitable redistribution of the Total Allowable Catch. I was also mindful of the need to promote medium to smaller entities,” said Creecy.
The department has revised the timelines for the processing, administration and finalisation of the remaining appeals relating to the Fishing Right Allocation Process 2020/2021, and planned to finalise hake longline appeals (280 appeals) by October 27, the Sardine appeals (169 appeals) by November 25, and the anchovy appeals (230 appeals) by November 30.
“The deferral of the timelines for finalisation of the remaining sectors is necessary to ensure that I arrive at the correct decision on all appeals.
The deferral will not prejudice any of the appellants and right holders in the remaining sectors, because I will have finalised and issued my appeal decisions in these sectors prior to the commencement of the next fishing seasons in January 2024,” said Creecy.