The Hook regularly focuses on aspects of the Small-scale Fisheries (SSF) Policy. This week we look at the section on food security, poverty alleviation and local economic development.

The small-scale fisheries sector is slowly gaining momentum within the South African Fishing Industry. The small-scale fishing policy is being implemented and the roll out will take place from 2016.

Small-scale Fishers and communities are entering a phase where rights to marine resources are shared amongst those deserving. The distribution of rights to small-scale fisheries and the commercial sector fisheries has to be based on human rights principles.

Those who are tasked to give marine resources rights will have to apply an approach that ensures that there is food security, socio-economic development and poverty alleviation for small-scale fishers and communities.

The small-scale fisheries food system compromises mainly of marine resources. The food from the sea that this sector produces, supplies and provides food security for many small-scale fishers.

Food security means that all people at all times have physical & economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate foods (Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2014).

Currently fishers from the West to the North Coast of South Africa are facing food security issues. They either do not receive equal access to marine resources and some do not have any kind of employment. This means that their physical and economic access to their food is not adequate.

Fishing quotas are small and access to the sea is not readily available. As permits are not delivered, families are borrowing money and sinking further into debt. When Marine Resources are closed off and turned into no take marine protected parks fishers families are suffering; fishers cannot put a food on the table.

Food security is a threat to many communities and the lack of food security is linked to poverty and low economic performances.

“If, over an extended period of time, a person is to convert potential labour power into actual labour power of any specified, physiologically admissible amount, he requires, among other things, nutrition of a corresponding quality and magnitude over that period” (Dasgupta, 1997, p. 6)…” (C. Bene et al, 2007).

Recognising social and economic development needs and seeking ways to overcome these needs is a vital policy objective and process.

“… if the person lives in an unhealthy environment, the result is poor nutritional status. In this case, this person suffers an impairment of the ability to do sustained work (Satyanarayana et al.,1977; Spurr, 1990; Bhargava, 1997), which usually results in lower productivity and wages (Strauss, 1986; Deolalikar, 1988; Alderman et al., 1996; Croppenstedt and Muller, 2000)” (C. Bene et al, 2007).

The general idea of socio-economic development “is to find ways to improve the standard of living within the area while also making sure the local economy is healthy and capable of sustaining the population present in the area” (Wise GEEK 2015).

The increase in food security contributes to socio-economic development and to poverty alleviation.

Fishing communities will see and have a better future. There will be better fishing, access to markets and other economic activities that instantly alleviate poverty.

The Small-Scale fisheries policy is therefore a progressive policy. It aims to better the future of fishing communities, while providing sound socio and economic development, food security, poverty alleviation.

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries’ core business is to ensure food security for all; and as the drivers and implementers of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, their mandate is to make sure that all policy objectives are achieved and adhered to.

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