File picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Small-scale fishers anxiously awaiting minister's industry quotas

By Dominic Adriaanse Time of article published Oct 16, 2019

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Cape Town – Small-scale fishing organisations say they are anxiously awaiting the industry rights allocation announcement by Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy.

She has announced that an independent audit team would look into the fishing rights allocation process for small-scale fishers, and those who were allocated rights and were on the list would receive their rights by December.

The minister made the announcement after an engagement with fishing communities in the Overstrand town of Hawston, as well as in Hangberg, last week.

Deff spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said: “The internal audit has commenced already. The minister explained that she cannot review all allocations as there is no legal basis for that.”

The South African Small-scale Fisheries Collective (SASSFC) co-chairperson, Ikram Halim, attended the Hangberg engagement.

“In a month’s time the crayfish fishing opens and those people already have rights. The process also talks of establishing co-operatives, which takes time, while the question of those who applied for interim relief would be unsure if they would now not be allocated rights,” he said.

Halim said Creecy had inherited a fisheries department with long-standing problems and complexities which had struggled to redress the injustices which existed within the fishing industry.

According to the department, in the Western Cape 10 000 people applied for the small fishing policy - of which only 2 500 qualified.

The department has tried to maintain a careful balancing act regarding fishing rights allocations under the Fishing Rights Allocation Process for 2020 (FRAP 2020). Small-scale fishers have called on the department to pause the process, Creecy said.

SA Small-Scale Fisheries Association spokesperson Pedro Garcia said: “We support the minister but we need clear processes and not short-term solutions that could cause long-term problems.

‘‘All the role-players need to be involved in a massive ‘bosberaad’ to finally address the small-scale fishing policy.”

Cape Times

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