On 11 May, the fishing communities of Papendorp and Ebenhaeser gathered for their monthly meeting together with, Masifundise, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Nico Waldeck from ABALOBI and The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), to discuss the state of small-scale fisheries in the region.

The meeting was part of Masifundise’s “Ensuring the socio-economic rights of Small-scale Fishers” project.

During the meeting, The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) gave a presentation for fishers on instructions for boat buoyancy and measurements. Following this, Waldeck presented the fishers with their monitoring data that has been collected for months.

Wilmien Wicomb, from the Legal Resources Centre, held a session with the fishers around the minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment’s (DFFE) bid to redo the small-scale fishers’ rights allocation in the Western Cape.

This decision came after a review of the implementation process that was commissioned by Minister Creecy in 2021. The review found the verification process to be “wholly inadequate” and therefore, cannot be relied on for decision-making purposes.

In April, the minister announced that the 8500 applicants will only be reviewed meaning, those who did not apply previously will not be able to apply again.

The Olifants fishers aim to contest this decision as they did not apply, through no fault of their own. They were not aware that the SFF Policy applies to them.

DFFE failed to consult communities adequately during the verification process and as a result, some communities were unable to apply.

We will continue to support the Olifants fishers to appeal this decision and fight for their right to be included in the Small-scale Fisheries Policy.