Members of Coastal Links SA (CLSA) in Port Nolloth await the outcomes of the completed verification and registration processes and with fishers from Hondeklip Bay and Kommagas, look forward to progressing to the next stage of the small-scale fisheries policy’s implementation.
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.
Christiaan Mackenzie, chairperson of CLSA in Port Nolloth, said that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) visited their town twice, and that a verification panel consisting of fishers from Port Nolloth were elected to vet the people who registered and identify them as bona fide fishers.
Walter Steenkamp, the Northern Cape chairperson of CLSA, says that the panel met and verified the fishers from Port Nolloth.
“The last time DAFF came out to Port Nolloth to register the people, who did not have a chance to register the first time around, unfortunately some of us were in Cape Town during that time, attending the Masifundise and Coastal Links AGM,” said Mackenzie.
Although he was not present as a panel member, Steenkamp says that the members of the verification panel gave them feedback.
“As members of the panel, we were elected by the fishing community to represent their interests on the panel, and because most of us are longstanding fishers, we were able to identify the fishers,” said Steenkamp.
“A few people who registered were not known as fishers to the members of the panel, and that information was forwarded to DAFF.”
“Of all the people who registered, we identified just over 250 people as fishers.”
Steenkamp said that they are regularly updated about the process by DAFF, and eagerly await the next step in the process.
“We work closely with the local Community Development Worker (CDW) in Port Nolloth, who regularly gives us feedback on government information, including information from DAFF.”
In last week’s edition of ‘The Hook’, we reported that Craig Smith director for small scale fisheries at DAFF said that the Northern Cape will be the first province to complete the registration and verification process.
The reason for this is that the province only has the three fishing communities of Port Nolloth, Kommagas and Hondeklip Bay.