AT the age of thirty, Pedros Domberg from Doring Bay in the Northern West Coast says that he has now been a fisherman for fifteen to years, but that he has been fishing for more than seventeen years.

At the age of fifteen, due to financial constraints within his family, after completing Standard 7 at the local high school,  Pedro was forced to find employment to help with putting food on the table of his family.

“My one uncle who lived with us was also a fisherman, but in that year, the catches were poor, and the fishermen did not make a good living out of fishing,” says Domberg.

He nevertheless found a site on one of the boats to supplement the family income.

“I grew up with only my mother, who also at some point worked in the local fishing factory that was once owned by Oceana.”

His mother once was a nurse at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, but, he says when his parents divorced after he was born, his mother moved back to Doring Bay, and brought him with her, and that is how he grew up in Doring Bay.

Domberg is the secretary of the local Coastal Links branch in Doring Bay, and also serves as the chairperson of Bokstancy Fishing Co-operative and as a board member of u’Khondleka Secondary Fishing Co-operative, as well as a representative on the Doring Bay Community Development Trust.

“I am not involved in other community organisations like the local civic association, because I am already involved in many activities as a fisher. But, I do see the importance of other organisations in the community, and we do work with them to improve the conditions of the community.”

Domberg is 30 years old and the father of one son.

From a very young age, Domberg already became involved in fishing, going out to sea with his uncle, other family members and people in the community.

“When I started with fishing, we still used the very small boats, and we had to row it to wherever the fish was. This was difficult, and it could only take up to three people”.

He says the boats they used then was only 3.6m long, but the boats they now have are 4.9m long and it got outboard motors.

“We still use the rows when we are in the deep sea, and we wish to move short distances after the engines has been switched off.”

He says the rows also serve as a safety measure, should they run out of petrol or develop engine troubles at sea, and then they can row themselves back to land.

Like all the other fishermen in Doring Bay who are part of the co-operatives, Domberg is also on Interim Relief, and catches his fish on that permit.

His permit allows him to catch up to 124kg of West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) per year.

He is also allowed to catches other species of fish which are mainly Cape bream, snoek, silverfish, yellow-tail, skipjack tunny and Jacob fish.

Some of these fish they are only allowed to take out a certain amount per week per fisherman.

Domberg is passionate about the issues of fishermen, the co-operatives that he belongs to and feels that the fishermen, the community and government can do more, and can do some things differently to improve the lot of the local fishers and the broader Doring Bay community.

“The fishing industry can be of great benefit to the community, but proper information, knowledge, capacity and better management within the industry, can help the fishers to get better prices for their fish.”

He would also like to see that the fishers and the broader community add value to their products, that a proper holding facility for their WCRL be set up, which will enable them to become less dependent on the services of the marketers.

“I would like to see that a lot of training happens around co-operatives, so that the members can understand their roles in the co-operatives, so that it can work better to the benefit of the fishers.”

He would like for it that the fishers could see their co-operatives as businesses, and conduct the affairs of the co-operatives as businesses.

It would be great should co-operatives start thinking of developing long term strategic plans, and set time frames in which they would like to reach certain objectives.

At the moment, each individual IR permit holder sells his fish as an individual, and only use the resources of the co-operatives to catch their fish and WCRL.

Domberg says that he would like to see that the fishers put their fish in the co-operative and let the co-operatives sell their fish on their behalf.

Domberg attended a national workshop on co-operative in Johannesburg, and says that he was impressed by what he saw and witnessed there, and feels that it is possible for them in Doring Bay to emulate the many success stories that was presented at that workshop.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial