Fishing Community Profile:


KwaMazambane, commonly referred to as Mazambane, is a small village situated in the uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The Mazambane community has endured a history of dispossession, with their forced removal from traditional fishing grounds near the coast. This displacement significantly impacted their traditional ways of life, particularly those tied to small-scale fishing.

Mazambane small-scale fishers have traditionally fished in the lakes and in the near shore sea on the KZN coastline and rely on the natural marine resources for a livelihood.

They commonly catch a variety of species, including grunters, mullets, crayfish, kingfish, and bream fish. Moreover, their nearshore waters are abundant with mussels, oysters, prawns, and crab. For their traditional fishing methods, Mazambane small-scale fishers rely on fish traps, bottom hook or line fishing, reeds, Nkalanka (crab traps), and gillnet fishing.

Small-scale fishers in Kwa-Zulu Natal were granted fishing rights in March 2020, just before the COVID19 national lockdown. Despite having their rights granted, they still faced many challenges.

Non-functioning cooperatives is a major concern for small-scale fishers in Mazambane. The government’s lack of support in capacity building, infrastructure, and equipment has hindered their ability to carry out their livelihood activities effectively. The local fishers have also expressed difficulties related to restrictive permit conditions. In particular, the own consumption permits that prohibit the sale of fish therefore impeding on their ability to sustain a livelihood and income. Additionally, local fishers have reported that their cooperatives have suffered financial losses as they were unable to profit from fishing activities.

To alleviate these challenges, the Mazambane fishers have requested assistance from the local municipality in establishing localized markets where they can sell their catch. However, the existing permit regulations further restrict fishers from accessing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), tidal lagoons, and estuaries, thus limiting their traditional fishing grounds.

The criminalization and harassment of small-scale fishers pose additional challenges for the Mazambane community, with reports of harassment by rangers from the reserve. Despite these obstacles, the Mazambane community remains determined to address these issues. Local engagements in the form of meetings and roundtable discussions have taken place with government officials and local municipalities to find solutions to these challenges.

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