For immediate release 

19 Oct 2021 

Western Cape small-scale fishers are up in arms after the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) cut their rock lobster allocation to 35kg as part of the Interim Relief dispensation for  2021/2022.  

This will further threaten lives and livelihoods already battered by the damage caused by 18 months of  the Covid-19 pandemic. The allocation can only yield the pitiful amount of R6 000 per annum or R500  per month. The Rock Lobster allocation has been reduced from 160kg to 35kg over several years. 

In an emotion-filled meeting yesterday, fishers organised under Coastal Links South Africa, roundly  rejected the cut to the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) allocation to small-scale fishers for the 2021/2022  season as it is unsustainable and unsuitable for supporting the lives and livelihoods of these communities.  

The deeply distressed fishers vowed to challenge the allocation on all fronts. They decided to approach  the Fisheries Portfolio Committee in an effort to secure a more sustainable basket of species and ensuring that they are prioritized in the dividing of the TAC. 

The Western Cape Coastal Links demands that the Department suspends the issuing of permits for the Interim Relief dispensation until such a time that they can guarantee a larger and more appropriate TAC for the season for small-scale fishers.  

The fishers who come from coastal communities such as Langebaan, Saldanha Bay, Paternoster, St. Helena Bay, Arniston, Lambertsbaai, Velddrift, and Buffelsjagbaai vowed to engage in mass action if government does not act swiftly to correct this terrible injustice. 

The small-scale fishers understand that stocks are under pressure but believe they should be prioritized over the commercial sector as they depend on the resources for lives and livelihoods. 

“The cuts should be made in the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) which is used for the commercial sector,” said Naomi Cloete, a Coastal Links leader from Paternoster. 

“Instead, the government marginalises the small-scale sector while it’s business as usual for the commercial sector. To make matters worse the government gives support to extractive industries that damage the oceans and make life more difficult for us,” she said. 

Carmelita Mostert, from Saldanha Bay said the government had “failed and disrespected small-scale fishers through false promises, and that they have stolen the oceans.” 

“The Small-Scale Fisheries policy that gives rights to the sector has been adopted more than five years ago, but still not implemented. Government treats us like step-children and has shown little respect or regard for the coastal communities as we battle to put food on the table,” she said. 

“We collectively decided that we are not going to accept this,” she said. 

Issued by Masifundise Development Trust and Coastal Links South Africa  

Naseegh Jaffer (Director):  

+27 82 577 0622

Jonathan Julius (Field Worker Western Cape):  

+27 76 111 1100 

Naomi Cloete (Paternoster):  

+27 76 657 2691  

Carmelita Mostert (Saldanha Bay):  

+27 84 756 2203  

Sarah Niemand: (Buffelsjagbaai):  

+27 82 723 8804 

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