This week, fishing communities from Western, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal submitted their comments on the draft regulations relating to small-scale fishing.

Fishers support the Small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy, but are concerned the regulations dilute the voice of the fishers and give too much power to the Minister.  Furthermore, the regulations are not clear in terms of the purpose it needs to serve.

One comment stated that “the minister must delegate some of his duties to other structures; we do not understand why he should be the one who appoints co-management committees”.

In relations to the objective of the primary cooperatives CLSA Western Cape stated that “The first objective should be to preserve, protect and promote the sustainable environmentally friendly tradition and custom of small-scale fishing….. It should not be seen as a business entity first and foremost but rather than a tool to further the objectives as proposed above…”

The communities who submitted their comments represent members of Coastal Links South Africa in their respective towns, including Dwesa-Cwebe, Nxaxo and Cebe in the Eastern Cape, Mthwalume and Nibela in KZN and Lamberts Bay and Langebaan in the Western Cape.

In a public meeting held at Tsitsikamma, Minister Senzeni Zokwana had said, once the Regulations are finalised, he will announce the last call for fishing communities to register their interest as fishing communities.

The regulations must be finalised and the MRLA Amendment Act must be promulgated. The target date for the promulgation is June 2015 and once finalised, the minister will launch the official implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy.

The due date for the submission of comments is now 28 may 2015.

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