February 4, 2014
An exemption that allows subsistence fishers in Kwazulu Natal and the Eastern Cape to sell their catch will substantially alleviate their plight.
Currently the fishers receive permits that prevent them from selling their catch and generating some income.
Coastal Links South Africa, representing more than 4 000 small-scale fishers from around the country, has made several representations to the Department of Fisheries to grant such exemptions, but to no avail.
Coastal Links branches and area committees from more than 60 towns and villages are in support of giving fishers this lifeline.
“We need to take all possible steps that contribute to fishers making a simple living in order to put food on the table for their families,” said Christian Adams, chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa.
“It is strange that the fishers are not granted this right while we in the Western and Northern Cape are allowed to sell our catch,” he added.
Two KZN fishers were arrested last month and fined for trying to sell their catch.
One of Coastal Links South Africa’s leaders in KZN, Mr Bethwel Sithole, said: “The fish allocation is at a minimum, so we struggle with food sustainability, we need to get authority to catch more fish and to sell what we catch.”
Other obstacles that the fishers face are the late granting of permits, the issuing of permits to the wrong beneficiaries and the limited rights that are authorised.
Permits are given to divers instead of traditional fishers and permits often allow for much less species than what the fisher applied for. Also, the local Coastal Links members are not consulted about the implementation of the abalone system.
“We would apply to catch, cobb, line fish, oyster and crayfish, but when our permits are given to us, we find that some of the species, like crayfish, have not been included in the permit,” said Mr Ntsindiso Nongcavu from Port St Johns.
“The medium and long term lasting solution is for the small-scale fisheries policy to be comprehensively implemented,” said Mr Christian Adams.
“For this to happen, the amended Marine Living Resources Act has to be adopted by the National Council of Provinces.
“We urge the NCOP to do so without further delay,” said Mr Adams. “While the old system is still in place, small-scale fishers continue to be exploited, victimised and criminalised.”
“Until that happens, we demand that subsistence fishers in KZN and the Eastern Cape are urgently granted exemptions that allow them to sell their catches.”
Issued by Coastal Links South Africa,
Coastal Links South Africa, is a community-based organisation representing more than 4,000 small-scale fishers in all four coastal provinces of South Africa.
Contact: Christian Adams (CLSA Chairperson)
Masifundise Development Trust: Communication Unit Contact Details
Contact: Nosipho Singiswa or Mansoor Jaffer
Tel: 021 6854549