Small-Scale Fishers demanding justice over fishing rights will gather in Parliament on Friday 25 November.
The fisherfolk from Buffeljagsbaai, Arniston, Struisbaai, Stilbaai, Paternoster, Langebaan, Hout Bay and Khayelitsha, will be supporting their counterparts who will be delivering a memorandum of grievances to the Portfolio Committee of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The memorandum will be delivered during a Portfolio Committee meeting that seeks to hear issues pertaining to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fishing Policy.
Since the promulgation of the Marine Living Resources Amendment Act in May 2015, the allocation of fishing rights to the small-scale fishing sector has been a bone of contention. Masifundise with Coastal Links SA have been calling for effective and rapid implementation of the policy including the announcement of rights that will be allocated for the sector.
The organisations have maintained that all allocations should be made at the same time as the small-scale fishing baskets are allocated, to prevent a situation where the small-scale fisheries sector is only allocated the left-overs after allocations have been made to the commercial sector.
Yet, until today small-scale fishers do not know what will be allocated to them and while the Department is allocating rights under FRAP, the small-scale fishing basket seems to be diminishing.
This has proven true when the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries allocated Linefish, Netfish, Mussels and the recent announcement for West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) leaving the sector with scraps.
Moreover this has been aggravated by the fact that the recent announcement of the WCRL season does not properly recognise the Small-Scale Fishing Sector as per the MLRA promulgated by the President of South Africa in May 2015 because 235,30 tons of WCRL allocated is for Interim Relief Permit Holders.
Furthermore, the allocation that is deemed to fall under the “Small-Scale Fishing Sector” is not and will not be viable for the entire Small-Scale Fishing sector, due to the fact that the current implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy will take in more bona-fide fishers who were left out of the interim relief.
As it stands, there has not been an announcement of what Small-Scale fishers will receive as part of their basket of species and Small-Scale Fishers are demanding that the small-scale fishing sector be prioritised and that no further allocation should be announced until such time the sector has been provided adequate rights.
The gathering will take place from 12 noon until 2pm in front of the Parliament of RSA in Cape Town.
Published by Masifundise Development Trust Communication Unit
For more information, contact: Nosipho Singiswa