Masifundise and Coastal Links are engaging the Department of Forestry and Fisheries about the implementation of the new Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) policy.

The policy was adopted three months ago after many years of campaigning by Masifundise and Coastal Links.

A two day workshop between DAFF representatives, five Coastal Links members, two Masifundise staff members and other stakeholders took place on the 24 – 25July, to look at a range of matters pertaining to the implementation process. These include: Institutional arrangements (co-management and formalised structure), communal versus individual rights, verification criteria, registration and verification of fishers, marketing of west coast rock lobster, upgrading of Catch Data System, Fishers’ identification cards, harvesting methods, multi-landing sites within the same area, separation of permit/species, interim relief package, exemption conditions.

Initial discussions focused on co-management models, how to evolve from interim relief to more permanent benefits and what kind of access old permit holders will have before policy is finally implemented.

Advocacy around the development and implementation of the new Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) policy has been key to Masifundise and Coastal Links’ relentless and ongoing pursuit of economic and environmental justice for small scale fishers.

Benefits of the new policy include the following:

  • The formal recognition of artisanal fishing communities
  • a move to collective fishing rights, away from the individual quota system that excluded the majority
  • the demarcation of exclusive fishing zones for small scale fishers, where they will be able to harvest or catch anything throughout the year. The potential for ongoing sustainable income will be considerably enhanced. These zones will be out of bounds for big commercial fishing companies
  • improved marine resource co-management
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