There is progress with the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy, according to a statement released by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), released this week.

DAFF confirmed that the Small-Scale Fishing Regulations has now been vetted by the office of the Chief State Law Advisor and has subsequently been approved by the Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries. This comes after an intensive process of re-drafting the regulations.

Extracts from the rest of the statement, read as follows:

“The Small-Scale Fishing Regulations will be published once the President has promulgated the Amended Marine Living Resources Act. The department says that these steps are essential to provide a sound legal framework to move the small-scale fisheries sector swiftly towards full implementation of the policy.

“We already have 267 communities successfully registered for the Expressions of Interest (EOI’s), and these communities represent an estimated 20,000 fishers in South Africa” said Abongile Ngqongwa deputy director of Small-Scale Fisheries Management.

The Department says that fishers from registered communities will be contacted via SMS in order to confirm registration and to forward useful information related to the pending small-scale fisher verification process.

“The Department once again would like to emphasize that any person that wants to be verified as a small-scale fisher would need to ensure that they are in possession of a valid identity document in preparation for the imminent verification process” continued Ngqongwa.

The Department has engaged with a number of stakeholders including municipalities and in some cases traditional leaders to ensure better preparation and set the tone to assist the Department with the pending implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy.

“We recently completed an in-depth environmental scan with local municipalities, we also held an appointment meeting with representatives of small-scale, recreational and commercial sectors,” said Ngqongwa.

He said that the department used this opportunity to share the envisaged path for apportionment allocation of marine resources to those sectors and stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide feedback to DAFF.

To ensure that the small-scale fisheries sector understands the policy process, the Department has prepared a guidebook of the process. The publication and its release will be announced by the department.”

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