Fisher leaders have accused the government of flouting the law with its recent fisheries allocation.

Members of Coastal Links South Africa have increasingly expressed frustration at the allocation process and the slow pace of implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy (SSFP).CLSA represents some 4 000 fishers countrywide great post to read. The fisher leaders have shared their views with The Hook.

In the 2015/16 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP), the overwhelming majority of the 455 rights of Linefish that make up the Total Allowable Effort (TAE) has been allocated to the commercial sector. This would leave less than 28 rights for the small-scale sector nationally.

The situation with Net Fishing allocations is even worse.  The entire netfish except for 52 rights ( 45 gill nets and 7 treknets) are being allocated to the commercial sector . The national coastline is therefore excluded. This means that there is nothing left behind for the small-scale sector as a whole.

The Amended Marine Living Resources Act of 2014 gives legal recognition to the small-scale fisheries sector for the first time. It provides the framework for the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy (SSFP). Among other things, the policy dictates that the near-shore, where net fishing takes place, is meant to be a preferential zone for small-scale fishers.

Yet, all the resources have been allocated to the commercial sector, in violation of the policy.

In a letter carried in The Cape Times last week, the Director of Masifundise Development Trust, Naseegh Jaffer, said that in the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process, there was some progress in the way allocations were done.

“However, many previous beneficiaries went to court to appeal and there was an order for a settlement process. The Minister announced the outcome in May this year, and it completely marginalises the small-scale sector,” he said.

“Small-scale fishers, the ones most in need are excluded in the main. We have always been of the view that benefits should accrue to fishers who are most in need and not already empowered individuals, of whatever race or political persuasion.

The way the Fisheries Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) is continuing, the potential that inshore resources will form part of the small-scale fisheries allocation is slipping away. The apportionment of fishing rights favours individual rights rather than a basket of rights,” he said.

He said the allocations “currently being made will completely undermine the strides made with the adoption of the policy and the progress underway with the implementation process.”

He called on the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to stop the process and grant allocations that realise the socio-economic rights of the small-scale sector.

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