Net-fish permit holders in Langebaan have said that they are unsure if they will be allocated net-fish permits when the new Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) Policy is going to be implemented, because of the uncertainty created by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
This is according to Solene Smith, chairperson of the Coastal Links South Africa (CLSA) Langebaan Branch.
“During the current process of allocating fishing rights, the department only allocated net-fish rights to the commercial fishers in Langebaan, and the rights permits of the small scale fishers have been extended to February 2017,” said Smith.
Smith said that in Langebaan ten commercial fishing rights permit have been issued to fishers this website.
“Three white fishers have been alone issued with net-fish permits to fish in Zone B, this year another commercial permit has been issued for Zone B.”
Smith said that besides that, the six permits that have been issued to the commercial fishers in Langebaan have been re-issued.
“Presently we have 27 small-scale fishers who fish on three Interim Relief permits for net-fishing in Langebaan”.
Smith said that for the small scale fishers of Langebaan to earn sustainable livelihoods, they have to juggle amongst themselves on which days, who will be going out to sea.
This sometimes means that some fishers might not be able to earn a living for weeks, should the bad days consequently fall on the days they have to go out to sea.
Langebaan fishers catch their daily fish in the Langebaan Lagoon, and are only allowed to fish in Zone A, which they have to share with holiday makers, a bone of contention for the fishers as it interferes with their fishing activities.
Langebaan fishers mainly target harders.
Fishers on the Olifantsrivier in Ebenhaeser and Papendorp on the North West Coast, also had their permits issued until February 2017, but their permits had not been extended, according to Salvester Don, a member of CLSA in Ebenhaeser.
“Our permits were issued in March 2016, until February 2017, but we had a problem in that the names of the fishers were not listed on the permits, and we had to make up our own list of names for the permits,” said Don.
In Ebenhaeser there are 34 fishers and in Papendorp there are 11 net-fishers who fish on the Olifantsrivier, targeting mainly harders.
All 45 of these fishers operate on two Interim Relief (IR) permits, and when approached by the inspectors, the fishers will show the inspectors a copy of the IR permit and the list of fishers on the permit, indicating where his name appears on the list.
But, because DAFF did not supply the list, the fishers have just been operating with their own list so far, because it is basically the same list of fishers they have been using the last few years.
The net-fish permits allow the fishers from Papendorp and Ebenhaeser to only fish with nets on the Olifantsrivier.
Ebenhaeser and Papendorp are on the North-West Coast of South Africa.