On 2 November Minister Barbara Creecy and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) engaged with coastal and inland small-scale fishing communities from the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal at Masifundise’s annual National Strategic Forum.

The National Strategic Forum is a platform that brings together fishing communities from all around South Africa at national level to explore, analyse and develop a shared understanding of the current political, socio-economic and legal developments impacting fishing communities, their organisation and the environment.

This platform created an opportunity for fishing communities to directly engage with Minister Creecy on challenges plaguing inland and coastal communities.

Fishing communities challenged DFFE on the lack of support and capacity building for cooperatives, the increasing number of oil and gas applications that threaten fisher livelihoods, limited basket of species offered by the department as well as the violence meted against those living adjacent to Marine Protected Areas.

Minister Creecy also used this moment to update and inform small-scale fishing communities on the progression of the National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy, the upcoming review of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) as well as steps taken towards co-management.