More than 2000 Fisheries stakeholders attended the Fisheries Imbizo, held in Richards Bay, KZN in December 2015.

The Imbizo was hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries DAFF) together with the KZN Office of the Premier.

“The main purpose of the Imbizo was to address challenges faced by Fisherfolk in the Fishing Industry in KZN specifically fishermen who are (allegedly) abused by KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife Compliance Unit and Isimangaliso Wetland authorities,” wrote Lungisani Gasa, DAFF stakeholder Engagement officer in KZN.

The Deputy minister of DAFF, Mr Bheki Cele and the KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu listened to the grievances of and answered question from fishers.

The questions related to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy, Fishing Permits setting up of Aquaculture Farms, involving youth in fishing and claims of repression faced by the fishers under the KZN Ezemvelo and Isimangaliso.

Joyce Mbuyazi from Mabibi-Kosi Bay requested DM Bheki Cele for local fishers to get relevant fishing permits and address issue of Isimangaliso which hinders Fishers to fish in a Marine Protected Area (MPA’s).

A Mr Cele from uMthwalume said that in his many years in fishing he had experienced ongoing abuse by KZN Ezemvelo.

“KZN Ezemvelo officials take our fishing stocks such as Mussels while poor fishers are fishing,” complained another fisher, December Mthembu.

Fishers in KZN have been complaining about the unfair treatment they constantly receive from the two conservation bodies. They protested and in many instances called for DAFF to intervene.

The imbizo was a response to these complaints. The Deputy gave a number of actions that need to be undertaken so to relieve the struggles faced by the KZN fishers.

These included the setting up of a meeting between DAFF and Isimangaliso and KZN Wildlife, assisting the youth with funding for aquaculture projects, setting up aquaculture workshops and the formation of the Provincial Fishing Association by 15 January 2016.

By the time of publishing this article, we have not yet received information regarding the progress of the proposed actions.


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