Fishing Co-operatives – What is to be done?
Fisher communities that set up fishing co-operatives outside of the Small-scale fisheries policy, will not quality for small-scale fishing rights, Masifundise has said.
Masifundise’s Mandla Gqamlana explained that communities are free to set up any type of co-operatives but when it came to fisheries co-operatives, only one entity can quality for small-scale fishing rights.
“If you have an existing co-operative then you have to dissolve it before you can qualify in terms of the SSF policy,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) will require fishing communities to have co-operatives that are in line with their rules and regulations. These co-operatives should be formed as per the department’s guiding principles. Some of the guiding principles include a verification process of all fishers before a small-scale fishing co-operative could be formed.
The verification process will be in place to make sure that the owners of the fishing co-operation are indeed indigenous fisherfolk and/or do come from a long standing fishing community.
Furthermore, the department will have structures at grassroots level to assist various fishing communities to set up and manage their co-operative.
Gqamlana said that communities should make use of government incentives in order to set up general co-operatives but stressed that the small-scale fisheries co-operatives would have to follow prescribed processes.
The government assists certain groups of individuals to start up co-operatives in order to be able to access resources to assist with poverty alleviation.
The Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS) is a 100% grant for registered primary co-operatives that is offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The objective of the CIS is to improve the viability and competitiveness of co-operative enterprises by lowering their cost of doing business through an incentive that supports Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (https://www.thedti.gov.za/financial_assistance/financial_incentive.jsp?id=11&subthemeid)