On the 19 May, Masifundise hosted an online roundtable to discuss the current Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) and its implications for the small-scale fishing (SFF) sector, in light of the appeal process being extended to 29 July 2022.

The roundtable was aimed at gauging different stakeholders in the small-scale fishing sector on their understanding of FRAP. This engagement explored the exclusion experienced by small-scale fishing communities.

FRAP is the long-term allocation of commercial rights. This year, 9 commercial fishing sectors are due for re-allocation, notably traditional line fish and squid. The appeals are open for people who applied for commercial rights and did not get them.

However, in a meeting on 12 April, the minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment announced that small-scale fishers and different stakeholders in the SSF sector should appeal because the process is open for all. This is first time the minister has conducted the appeal process in this manner.

The Small-scale Fisheries Policy was gazetted in 2012 and has had a poor implementation process since.

Small-scale fishing rights have yet to be implemented in the Western Cape. SSF have applied for FRAP because of the failure of the department to allocate their rights. Those who applied for rights and were unsuccessful should appeal the process within their own right.

On previous occasions, the department had promised a 50/50 split for the total allowable catch in abalone, a 50/50 split in the total allowable effort in line fish, and a 75/25 split in the total allowable effort in squid for the local commercial sector and small-scale sector respectively.

FRAP2022 indicates that 70% of the total allowable effort in line fish is allocated to the commercial sector leaving the small-scale sector with less than what they were promised by DFFE.

This will have a negative impact on the livelihoods of small-scale fishers and their cooperatives. The rights will be allocated for 15 years and will have serious implications on the SSF basket. Fisherfolk will not be able to sustain their livelihoods activities with the current allocation.

Additionally, DFFE conducting FRAP before the review of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) is nonsensical. Once resources are allocated (for 15 years) it cannot be changed and the SFF sector will still bear the brunt of the unfair FRAP species allocation.

Small-scale fishing communities are encouraged to submit appeals for FRAP. For those appealing FRAP who didn’t apply, appeals should be sent to the email: FRAP2020appeals@dffe.gov.za