Small scale rights decriminalise traditional fishing
62 Small scale fishing cooperatives given access to resources
SOUTH AFRICA: The era of interim relief declared for small scale fishers will come to an end as 62 small scale fishing cooperatives in the Western Cape became the recipients of the historical small scale rights.
Minister Barbara Creecy announced the outcome of the allocation process today highlighting that 3,850 declared fishers were represented by the cooperatives.
“This achievement signifies the end of the interim relief era and the formal inclusion of Western Cape fishing communities, whose livelihoods have been intertwined with fishing for centuries. Historically, these communities faced systematic exclusion due to past injustices, hindering their participation in fishing operations,” said Minister Creecy, adding that this will promote employment and economic development within the province’s fishing communities and decriminalise traditional fishing.
Creecy did, however, acknowledge the need to provide more support to ensure the sector’s growth and said that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) was “very committed” to the process.
In the lead-up to fishing rights allocation, the Department has worked with Community Based Organisations and fishing communities to register cooperatives and identify suitable species as well as fishing areas.
While the rights allocation includes species such as traditional line fish, West Coast Rock Lobster, seaweed, bait species, abalone aquaculture ranching sites, net-fish species, white mussels, oysters, and hake handline – DFFE has yet to finalise the full basket of species to ensure economic sustainability in the small scale sector.
PHOTO SOURCE: Adobe Photostock