In March Masifundise hosted a roundtable in the coastal and inland fishing communities of Mazambane, Mtubatuba and Jozini in KwaZulu- Natal.
These roundtables presented an important moment for small-scale fishers to engage with various stakeholders in their local communities. The purpose of these roundtables was to foster relationships between fishing communities, local authorities and government actors in the sector, to work towards creating a conducive environment for small-scale fishers to practice their livelihood activities uninhibited.
During the roundtables fishing communities were given an opportunity to relay the day-to-day challenges they experience as small-scale fishers in their respective areas. In Mazambane and Mtubatuba fishers expressed challenges around restrictive own consumption permits that prohibit the sale of fish therefore impeding on their ability to sustain a livelihood and income. Fishers further added that their cooperatives suffered as the could not make any profits from fishing activities. They further requested the local municipality assist them in creating localised markets where they will be able to sell their harvest.
The inland fishing community of Jozini expressed difficulties in accessing their traditional fishing grounds. These fishers highlighted that they faced massive criminalisation and harassment while securing their livelihoods.
Traditional leadership and Local Economic Development (LED) managers in attendance applauded the efforts of fishing communities and advised them accordingly. Traditional authorities committed to advocate and support fishing communities in their engagements with government. The LED managers committed to continue engaging with fishing communities around their challenges to find suitable solutions to their problems.