Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

Cape Town - The period for appeals on the recently completed fishing rights allocation process has been extended by two months, Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Sunday.

“There do seem to be legitimate concerns either relating to poor administration of the applications, or questionable judgements by the delegated officials,” she told journalists in Kalk Bay, Cape Town.

Joemat-Pettersson said there was “significant unhappiness” regarding allocations. This involved those who had not received a quota, as well as unhappiness about the size of quotas.

Fishing quotas were allocated prior to the December 31 deadline last year. Joemat-Pettersson said 3490 applications for rights were received across all sectors of the industry, but only 593 could be approved.

“In the traditional linefish sector, there were 1566

applications, while only 215 could be approved.”

The appeals process needed to be reinforced and strengthened.

“I have appointed the law firm Harris, Nupen and Molabatsi Attorneys to advise me on the appeals process. They will undertake an urgent independent audit of the rights allocation process to ensure it was compliant with all relevant policies and legislation.”

The firm would start work immediately.

“Secondly, in order to accommodate the appeals for all those who wish to do so, I have agreed to extend the appeals period by a further two months, to end April 2014.”

This would also mean an extension to the interim relief provided to those who previously held fishing rights.

Joemat-Pettersson said she was committed to clean administration.

“If the process is found to be in order, we will have lost nothing, and gained enormous confidence in the integrity of the rights allocations.” - Sapa