The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries released a provincial gazette on fishing rights allocation in the Northern Cape. The gazette, released on the 9 of September states that small-scale fishing rights will be valid for a period of three years with an option of these rights being extended for another two years.
Furthermore, the minister has given the Deputy Director General of Marine Fisheries, Siphokazi Ndudane, the responsibility of issuing these rights to fishers.
Those who are affected by this decision were given 30 days to appeal this decision by submitting comments to the department.
The gazette is in preparation for the allocation of fishing rights under the Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) Policy.
Below, are comments from Masifundise Development Trust and Coastal Links South Africa regarding the contents of the gazette:
Small-Scale Fishers eke out a living through catching fish. Their livelihoods depend on the sea and what the sea supplies them.
To give fishing rights that will last for three years does not bring about justice to this group of people. Unlike the commercial fishing sector, small-scale fishers do not go out to sea to make a profit. But to them, the sea is a way of life, a way to put food on the table.
The Small-Scale Fishing sector has in many years been side-lined by the department, over and over again, the sector has been devalued.
The Small-Scale Fisheries Policy is designed to bring back the dignity of small-scale fishers. It is a guarantee that fishers will be able to properly provide for their families; a guarantee that Small-Scale Fishing is indeed recognised as a livelihood activity and not for profiteering. To therefore give other sectors fishing rights with a duration that is longer than three years, then turn around and give small-scale fishers rights for only three years is an unjust stunt that does not recognise the importance and value of small-scale fishing to the livelihoods of small-scale fishers.
Small-Scale Fishing rights should be given for a lifelong period as it is a matter of livelihood and not profiteering.
We therefore as Masifundise Development Trust and Coastal Links South Africa propose that rights be given for a longer period, lifelong, with the option of constantly reviewing what is allocated to the sector.