Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy is to approach the High Court to review and set aside the process of awarding small-scale fishing rights in the Western Cape.
This decision was based on the outcomes of an audit for the implementation process that was commissioned by Minister Creecy in 2020. The audit was to investigate the discrepancies of verified and excluded fishers as well as examine the application process in its entirety.
This audit found that the verification process was “wholly inadequate and that the results of the assessments cannot and should not be relied on for any decision-making purpose in terms of the Regulations”.
The Minister acknowledged that redoing the verification process will take at least a year, and in the interim stated that both fishers that were successful under the first attempt of SSFP implementation and those that are still fishing under the Interim Relief permits may continue to fish.
While Masifundise welcomes the redoing of the verification process for the Western Cape, we cannot ignore the similar challenges that continue to plague KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape. Minister Creecy needs to further examine and fix the challenges placed by DEFF in the implementation of Small-scale Fishing Policy in these provinces.
“We have suffered many challenges because of the way DEFF chose to conduct the verification process. We are stuck with excluded and deceased fishers on our fishing lists and inadequate support and training for our cooperatives. There is no co-management and a lack consultation when it comes to fisher issues. We do not need an entire redoing of the process because we have made some progress in our co-ops despite DEFF, but we do need our challenges prioritised by the department”, said Coastal Links Chairperson in Eastern Cape, Ntsindiso Nongcavu