The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is gearing up to verify fishers and fishing communities for the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP). The verification process is a critical process as it will identify those who meet the criteria of acquiring fishing rights under the SSFP.

Today, The Hook takes you through the verification and identification process as stipulated in the SSFP Draft regulations.

The identification, verification and registration of the fishers includes the process of submitting expression of interest forms by SSF communities; the verification of fishers using the criteria set out in the SSFP and registration of community based legal entities.

All registered communities, that is those who submitted the expression of interest forms to the department will be visited by DAFF in order to be verified and considered as a small-scale fishing community.

To be verified as a fisher and become a member of the legal entity and thereby a SSF rights holder, small-scale fishing community members will have to meet all the criteria as specified in the SSFP.

The criteria are:

  1. A South African citizen from a fishing community
  2. 18 years of age (with child headed households, a guardian will represent such children on the legal entity)
  3. A history of harvesting marine living resources personally or be involved on a daily basis in operations such as processing or marketing (unless physically disabled)
  4. Able to show direct historical involvement in the small-scale fisheries sector (10 years)
  5. Able to show past involvement in traditional fishing operations, which include catching, processing or marketing
  6. Able to show historical dependence on marine living resources
  7. Have no other employment and
  8. Subsist from their catch or be engaged in the sale or barter thereof or involved in semi-commercial activity.

When fishers meet these criteria, successfully verified fishers shall be mobilised into small-scale fishery co-operatives by DAFF. DAFF will then assist small-scale fishing co-operatives to apply for a small-scale fishing right.

Once this process is done, then rights will be given to communities.

Last week, the department published a press statement relating to the verification process for fishers. Read it here:

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