Plan to empower fishers for work opportunities

Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa are embarking on a project that aims to create 2 000 jobs in 20 fishing communities, over the next three years.

The project will take place as the long awaited Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) Policy is implemented along the country’s coastline.

The policy makes provision for co-management of fisheries and for the setting up of legal entities that are run by collectives.

The initiative is called the Job creation and sustainable livelihoods through the implementation of the Small-Scale fisheries Policy project.

The project will take place in the four coastal provinces, namely from the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal.

Small-scale fishers will be trained so that they are able to take up various jobs related to the implementation process. This will be done through partnerships with a range of stakeholders including government and NGOs.

“We want to see fisher people including women and youth from the selected 20 fishing communities having increased skills and capacity to engage in co-management of fisheries and to benefit from job creation via the implementation of the SSF Policy,” commented Masifundise’s Carsten Pedersen.

Fishers must be empowered so that they are able to manage co-operatives or other community based legal entities.

“We need our communities to be fully functional, independent and have food security, and we will do this by preparing them for the implementation of the SSF Policy,” said Masifundise fieldworker Nico Waldeck.

Masifundise also aims to improve cooperation with government departments such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in order to ensure governmental commitment, human and financial resources for a successful implementation of the SSF policy that includes job creation.

“We will on a continuous basis invite and engage these departments in roundtable meetings and workshops for their commitment and input in this project,” said Masifundise’s head of programmes, Mandla Gqamlana.

“For the past 20 years, we have been advocating for the government to implement the Policy and for small-scale fishers to be legally recognised, now this has happened and our mandate is to make sure that the policy is fully implemented and people receive their rights,” continued Mandla.

The project is funded by the European Union under the National Development Policy Support Programme for South Africa – Skills Development and Job Creation.

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