Inland small-scale fishers who practise their livelihood activities on Vanderkloof Dam continue to face criminalisation and arrest while trying to put food on the table and support food security and nutrition in their communities.

The difficulties faced by fishers in Keurtjiekloof, Petrusville, and Luckhoff have been intensified by the lockdown regulations put in place by the South African government in response to Covid-19. These small-scale fishers operate in kraals in and around the dam, as well as in the Rolfontein Nature Reserve.

Due to no guiding legislation or policy framework around small-scale fishing in freshwater bodies, their activities are largely managed by provincial nature and conservation authorities as well as the local South African Police service (SAPS) and private land owners.

“Inland fishers have consistently been side-lined, marginalised, and excluded from accessing fishing grounds and benefiting from freshwater resources. The development and support of inland small-scale fisheries has the potential to better the lives of poverty-stricken communities,” said Maia Nangle of Masifundise.

“Masifundise is therefore creating a short documentary to capture the lived experiences of small-scale fishers on Vanderkloof Dam, documenting the challenges they face on a daily basis, highlighting the dire need for guiding legislation in the sector, and bringing to the fore those challenges deepened by the lockdowns. The documentary will follow various stories of fishers from the different communities, illustrating the realities on the ground and the nature of small-scale fishing. The documentary will be released for viewing by the end of August 2021,” added Nangle.

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