On 24 and 25 July, Masifundise hosted its second Inland-to-Coast small-scale fisheries Exchange in Kosi Bay, Kwa-Zulu Natal. As part of the exchange, 10 inland small-scale fishers from the Jozini Dam region visited the coastal small-scale fishing community of Kosi Bay.
The exchange aimed to provide inland fishers with an understanding of traditional coastal fishing methods, including kraal fishing traps used in Kosi Bay. Additionally, it sought to facilitate a knowledge exchange session between inland and coastal communities, focusing on coastal fishers’ experiences and challenges with the implementation of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP).
On day one, the group toured the fishing traps at the Kosi Mouth and was led by local small-scale fisher, Lucky Mahlangu. He emphasised the construction of the traps was a community effort. Men handled construction and upkeep, while women and children aid in fishing and processing.
“The traps are made entirely of natural materials like reeds, silver oak branches, and palm leaves and it uses the flow of the tides to channel fish into them. This customary fishing practice is still used in Kosi Bay today.” said Lindani Ngubani from Masifundise.
The women of Kosi Bay showcased mussel harvesting, an often-overlooked livelihood activity within the small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector. This practice serves as a valuable source of nutritious food for their families and communities.
On the second day, the group discussed the coastal fishers’ experiences under the SSF Policy. Masifundise outlined SSFP’s history, including implementation challenges. The Kosi Bay fishers enriched the discussion by sharing the lessons learnt from the implementation process including, the need to address youth exclusion in the process, the importance of being organised and knowing your basket of species, ensuring that your cooperative constitution reflects your communities cultural and traditional practices and finally, recognising the valuable role women play in the fisheries value-chain. Women contribute a lot in the small-scale fishing value-chain therefore it is important that they are not left out.
For the final session, both Jozini and Kosi Bay fishers participated in capacity building exercises that helped them improve on their community organising skills and to develop an action plan that would take their vision and struggle as small-scale fishers forward.
The exchange forms part of Masifundise’s Inland Fisheries Project funded by the Commonwealth Foundation.