The implementation of the Small Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP) is still in Phase One, dealing with the registration and verification of small scale fishers, according to Craig Smith, director for small scale fisheries at the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
Small-scale fishers have to be registered and verified in order to be part of a legal entity to which fishing rights will be allocated.
The physical registration and verification of small scale fishers, where the fishers have to go to a venue to register is still taking place until the end of the month, in KwaZulu/Natal (KZN) only.
In the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape where the physical registration and verification have been completed, Smith said that they are now busy with assessments.
“The assessments in the Northern Cape have been completed, and a proposal has been drafted for the Acting Deputy Director General (DDG) for Fisheries in DAFF to approve.”
The assessment is a final check DAFF is doing of the small scale fishers that has been approved by the community verification panel.
“We just do a final check to make certain that the people that have been approved by the community verification panels are indeed small scale fishers.”
In the Northern Cape, the communities of Hondeklipbaai, Kommagas and Port Nolloth have been approved to be part of the small scale fisheries policy.
Another community, Eksteenfontein also lodged an expression of interest form for the SSFP, but Smith said that they have withdrawn their application.
Smith said that so far only about 10% from the small scale fishers have been assessed and that they intend to complete the assessment of the Western Cape fishers by the end of July, and forward the assessment report to the DDG.
In the meantime the Assessments in the Eastern Cape have also started, and they hope to finish their assessments soon after the Western Cape.
Once the Assessments are complete, the lists will be published, Smith said that they are not visiting any communities at the moment in relation to physical registration and verification, except in KZN.
They will only start visiting communities again once the DDG has approved the lists of fishers, to present the lists to the communities and to work on the appeals that will be lodged by people who have not been approved as bona-fide small scale fishers.
Phase Two of the SSFP will consist of DAFF returning to the communities and helping them to set up co-operatives that will be used in the implementation of the SSFP.