20 November 2013

Safety of Fisher People – World Fisheries Day 21st November 2013
All over the world fisher people are facing violating boarders in the process of fishing. This is very common in Europe, Gulf Countries, African Countries, South American countries, Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lankan boarders. Nowhere in the world are boarders earmarked. With the hardships that fisher people all over the world are facing, court cases, landing up in jail for months and facing criminal charges due to a lack of visa’s, this is a perennial problem.

The questions are, why should these small scale fisher (ssf) people fishing for livelihood face these problems? What about the suffering their families have to undergo? Is there any humanity left in this world and is there a way out?

If boarder countries collaborate- these problems can be solved. One of the things we can do is to involve the United Nations to assist in solving these issues. Since the World Fisheries Day has become common all over the world, let us start a campaign to have International Laws enacted just like the Law of the Sea.

To start off, let’s have every sea boarder between two coastal countries (which are 50 km apart) declared as a Common Peace Area (CPA). If 50 km of sea is available, let us make half of that available sea a CPA. In this area fisher people in both the countries will be free to fish and these fisher people using this area should be from these boarder areas and, there should be no fishing vessels with foreign flags and foreign investment. Destructive fishing gears should not be allowed – for example, if one boarder country has banned a particular fishing gear, the same ban should be applicable in the whole CPA.

Further more, those who fish should obtain NO OBJECTION IDENTITY CARDS counter signed by both the respective boarder countries and, they should be owner operators. Each Fishing vessel should carry a CPA flag and the CPA should be earmarked by floats.

This year, let us make the World’s Fisheries Day a campaign that will be known all over the world.

Please circulate these boarder problems amongst your network and the UN. Let us demand a CPA by the UN.

By: World Forum for Fisher People.

Josh and Neville visit West Africa
Masifundise’s Josh Cox and Coastal Links’ Neville Luyt are visiting two national fisher organisations in Sierra Leone and attended regional West African meetings of fisher organisations, government and NGOs in Cape Verde and Senegal.

They are gaining valuable insight on this trip on the issues and challenges facing fishing communities in other parts of Africa and what can be done collectively through the Pan African Programme to address them.

The two are expected to return to South Africa on the 28 of November 2013.

Langebaan Update
Four fishers from Langebaan will be appearing in the Hopefield Lower Court on Thursday 21 November, to defend themselves against a case of fishing in Zone B in the Langebaan Lagoon. Henry Makka and Mark Burling were allegedly caught fishing in Zone B in January and Oslin van Boven and Quentin March were caught in August, and their cases have been put together as one.

MDT has embarked on a media campaign to tell stories of the dispute around Zone B, which will be the subject of a court case in January 2014. Leaders of the fishing community believe that if the broader case is won in the High Court, then the charges against the four fishers will fall away.

MDT and EMG Climate Change workshop
MDT, CLSA and the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) held a workshop on the 14 of November 2013, to discuss the findings of a two year recording process that fisher-folk from Dooringbay and Lamberst Bay embarked on to look at the impact of climate change.

The fisher-folk findings showed that climate changes had an impact on the size of species, the reproductive process of the crayfish and also found that they would find foreign species in their water that were not usually found on that particular region.

There was also a consensus that this initiative should continue and should expand to other coastal town and provinces so that other fisher-folk could be aware of the impacts of climate change.

MDT and EMG will meet today, 20 November 2013 to discuss the continuation of the project.

Combined Sub-regional workshop
A combined sub-regional workshop for Kwazulu Natal and Eastern Cape (EC) will be held in KZN on the 25 – 27 November 2013. The workshop will focus on the final submissions that will be made to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on the basket species that can be allocated by both provinces (EC and KZN) while the policy is not implemented.

Troubles of Fisher-folk in the Eastern Cape
MDT and the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee of CLSA will meet with Eastern Cape provincial DAFF officials in order to raise certain issues that have been negatively impacting on the livelihoods of the small-scale fishers in the region. The issues include the interim relief system that is not yet available in the region, the arresting of fisher people for “poaching”, the issue of subsistence permits being issued late and some fishers not receiving their permits.

A Hand Book for the SSF Policy
Masifundise and the Institute for Poverty, Agrarian and Land Studies are working together to produce a Handbook on the small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy.

The Handbook will outline the different aspects of the policy and its implications for fisher folk along the coastline. The Handbook will be printed in four languages and will be presented in an easily accessible style.

It is expected to be completed by the first week in December.

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