On 30 August the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) hosted an engagement with the small-scale fishing cooperatives in and around Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. This engagement provided an important moment for small-scale fishers to highlight their challenges directly to the Department.

Fishers highlighted numerous challenges around the lack of access to their traditional fishing grounds due to the criminalisation of their livelihood activities. They also emphasised the need for DFFE to support their cooperatives with the necessary skills and capacity.

DFFE also used this opportunity to present their Oceans Economy Master Plan and proposed Aquaculture developments in the area.

“Fishers are very concerned about how long it has taken DFFE to enagage them on the developments that are happening in small-scale fishing. These consultations and information sessions happen too late when projects are already being rolled out. It gives fishing communities no opportunity to meaningfully engage with projects that are happening in their community and that will impact their livelihoods,” said, Masifundise Community Liaison officer, Lindani Ngubane.

“We don’t want promises of new developments we just want the full implementation of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy. Too many fishers have died without the realisation of this policy. We need the policy to be implemented in a way that will benefit small-scale fishers,” Pawlos Ndlovu  said fisher from KZN.