On 7 September 2019, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), Barbara Creecy, held a stakeholders meeting with West Coast  fishers in Lamberts Bay to engage with and respond to fisheries related issues from the various coastal communities and the surrounding areas.

Small-scale fishers from the West Coast used this meeting to challenge DEFF on the low numbers of successfully recognised bona-fide fishers. In the Western Cape 8488 fishers registered for the small-scale fisheries policy yet only 2802 were successful. The Minister admitted that her office was inundated with requests from fishers wanting answers, “I will put in an independent review of the registration process so that we can see what the original criteria was and see why some people didn’t make the list.”

Today, more than a year later, the Western Cape Coastal Links members wrote to the Minister demanding the urgent release of the audit. This request comes amidst frustration that the West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) allocations have been reduced to a mere average of 44kg per fisher for the 2020/ 2021 fishing season.

The Minister’s silence on the promised audit outcomes and the menial 44kg of WCRL allocation is a slap in the face for fishing communities already entrenched in poverty now exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.

Masifundise will continue to assist fishers of the Western Cape to advocate for a fair allocation and the inclusion of excluded fishers.

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