Masifundise hosted its first virtual launch for the Inland Fisheries Report and Documentary on the 28 October 2021. The event explored the challenges in enhancing the right to food, livelihoods and recognition for inland small-scale fishing (ISSF) communities.

The video and report address the challenges of inland small-scale fishing communities as well as, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is timely as in August Cabinet approved the National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy for South Africa.

The report, “Covid19 left us hungry: shortcomings of Governance Frameworks in the Inland Fisheries Sector of South Africa through a Lens of the Covid-19 pandemic” explores the key factors that inhibit the ability of inland small-scale fishers to practise their livelihood activities, and the shortcomings of existing governance frameworks, through a lens of the moment of crisis- the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings were gathered from members of Vanderkloof, Gariep and Jozini Dam as well as relevant government institutions. For some inland fishers, fishing is the only income opportunity to sustain livelihoods.

Shortly after, the Inland Fisheries short documentary titled, “I Live behind the Hill: Stories of inland fishers struggling for recognition” was screened. The documentary depicts the lived realities of inland fishers operating at Vanderkloof Dam. It tells the story of the unrecognised ISSF sector that has been largely rendered invisible and its contributions to food production minimised.

The launch ended with feedback from various inland fisher representatives on the report and documentary. One of representatives said, “it is great news the policy is adopted, even though it is adopted it will take a long time to be implemented and that causes frustration”.

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