Masifundise will host a National Strategic Forum (NSF) from 12 to 16 April 2021.

This NSF will bring together inland and coastal fishing communities from KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Northern Cape.

The NSF will empower members of small-scale fishing communities to explore, analyse and develop a shared understanding of the current political, socio-economic and key emerging issues that affect small-scale fishing communities. The NSF will include workshops on the Blue Economy and co-management.

More than 100 fishers are expected to attend the forum. About 30 to 40 will meet physically in each province, observing strict Covid protocols. The provincial gatherings will be connected online together with officials from the national office.

“Our mission is to build the knowledge, skills and capacity of small-scale fishing communities to enable them to become agents of change within their own communities, organisations, and social movements,“ said Sibongiseni Gwebani from Masifundise.

Fishers must be in a position to “understand, engage with and, where necessary, challenge and advocate for just political and economic decision-making processes,” she said.

“This includes facilitating and strengthening participatory governance at all levels, enabling fishing communities to secure their social, economic, and political rights and to demand the redistribution of access to natural resources and the roll-back of harmful development initiatives”, explained Gwebani.

This National Strategic Forum will assist communities to reconnect as well as highlight long-standing and emerging issues in the small-scale fishing sector.