HOUT Bay fishermen say they want transformation in the fishing industry, not just fishing rights.
A group of fishermen from Hout Bay protested outside Newspaper House in the city centre yesterday over media reports about the blocking of the entrance to Hout Bay harbour on Wednesday.
The blockade was held a few hours after two fishermen went missing early on Wednesday morning while fishing, allegedly illegally, offshore of the Slangkop Lighthouse near Kommetjie.
Some of the protesters told media that Wednesday’s gathering related to fishing rights when it came to informal fishermen. A delegation met with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries later that day to discuss their concerns.
Representative Greg Louw said the gathering wasn’t just about fishing rights but lack of transformation. “We call for transformation in the fishing industry,” he said. “We also want the man on the ground to benefit from fishing.”
Trevor Schoeman said there was little transformation in the fishing industry, and while people in Hout Bay had been fishing for years, they were still suffering.
In a response to Cape Times questions on Wednesday, Carol Moses, spokeswoman for the department’s fisheries branch, said the department had met a delegation of fishermen and had noted their dissatisfaction regarding transformation.
“An example stated was that access to leases of harbour facilities/buildings are excluding previously historically disadvantages (sic) and that the majority of leases, approximately 90 percent, are in the hands of white individuals or companies,” she said.
Louw said once they’d had an opportunity to organise themselves, they would again meet the department to look at possible “immediate solutions” to the constraints Hout Bay informal fishermen faced.
Moses said the department had undertaken to facilitate an “interdepartmental process” to engage on the issues the fishers had raised.