On 11 February 2015, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, extended the fishing rights that expired or were due to expire in 2015 until the 29 February 2016 for all commercial right holders.
The extension was granted to allow the department to fully prepare for the FRAP 2015/16.
“The extension would also help to establish a well-managed and transparent process that will foster efficiency and accountability,” DAFF had said in a press release.
While DAFF is moving swiftly with the implementation of FRAP and 26 of February being the closing day for submitting applications, Small-Scale Fishers are left wondering when will the Small-Scale fisheries Policy be in full swing.
At a portfolio meeting held in parliament on January 17, the then Deputy Director of Fisheries, Mr Mortimer Mannya said that the implementation of FRAP and the SSF policy will happen simultaneously.
“…. Over and above FRAP, the Implementation Plan of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy would run concurrently and it is envisaged that 40 contract workers…”.
But this will not be the case and a new date for the allocation of rights under the policy is yet to be announced.
Small-scale fishers say that FRAP should not go ahead when their policy is not.
Fishers say that if FRAP is implemented, their basket of species under the policy will be lessened. For instance, the West Coast Rock Lobster commercial offshore and nearshore sector-specific policies provide for the status quo applicable to the present distribution of the WCRL TAC to be sustained for 15 years.
With the receipting date for commercial drawing near, Coastal Links Members say that FRAP should be halted for the small-scale fisheries policy. “It was said that FRAP will run alongside the implementation of the policy, but now the FRAP process has surpassed us and this will impact on resources that the small-scale fisher receives “, CLSA chairperson Christian Adams commented.
“All rights allocated under the FRAP must be interim until the policy is implemented and resources are allocated under the policy” agreed Lulamile Ponono MDT field worker in Eastern Cape.
In a recent media statement relating to FRAP 2015/16 season DAFF had said
“The receipting process will take place from the 1 to 12 February and potential applicants are requested to lodge their applications by the cut off time of 4 pm on Friday 12 February 2016.”
This date has now been changed to the 26 of February.