“Due to the dragging of the IR system and the subsequent delay of the implementation of the Small Scale Fisheries Policy, fishers like the one who drowned in Elands Bay, will remain forced to practise unsafe fishing  practices”, said Christiaan Adam, chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa.

On Tuesday, Chasling Africa, a fisherman from St Helena Bay, drowned in Elands Bay after a small fishing boat, crewed by him and two fellow fishermen, capsized.

Mr Africa’s body was found off Elands Bay by the National Sea Rescue Institute hours after the capsizing took place about 100m off-shore.

This is not the first time a fisher dies due to unsafe fishing practices. Last year in October, two fishermen from Paternoster went missing after their fishing trip turned sour.

“The policy will better the lives of fishing communities and it will improve livelihoods, there will be better fishing and safety equipment for the fishers,” said Hilda April from Mamre.

“Fishers are vulnerable in times of unemployment, illness and on the death of a breadwinner… Minimum labour standards and the basic condition of employment for the sector, that accommodates the needs for safety at sea in the Small-Scale fisheries sector, should be developed in line with the national labour law and SAMSA requirements…”  Policy for Small Scale Fisheries Sector in South Africa (No.35455, 2012) South Africa: Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries.

The sooner the SSF-Policy is implemented the sooner co-management structures and safety regulations are in place.

Co-management structures will have much bigger decision-making powers and influence over sea-faring regulations. This will enable communities to make better and informed decisions regarding going to sea.

The implementation of this policy will also bring about bigger allocations or at least that is what fishers hope for.

CLSA leaders showed their sadness about the passing of the fisher.

”We are sad to hear that a fisher has passed away, this is why government needs to effectively implement the policy, such things can be avoided through monitoring and safety regulations,” Norton Dowries from Langebaan said.

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