Masifundise Development Trust is one of the oldest non-governmental organisations in South Africa and for the last seven years, this strong and independent organisation has been engaged in development work with rural fi shing and coastal communities on the west and south coasts of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Through its work with these communities, Masifundise has become increasingly aware of the enormous challenges faced by traditional artisanal and subsistence fi shers as they compete within the local and current global fi sheries market.
The organisation believes that building the capacity of fi sher and coastal communities to organise and build strong structures and networks that are informed and able to engage with marine and coastal policy issues on a local and regional level, will enable them to protect and promote their right to marine resources and sustainable coastal development. Masifundise, as part of its capacity building programme, organised a three-day conference from the 2 – 7 November 2004 for community leaders from fi shing and coastal communities throughout the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The objectives of the conference were:
·To establish links between fi shing communities in order to build solidarity and share information about fi sheries in the region;
·To build awareness of the content of the SADC Protocol and other regional instruments that can be used to protect and extend the rights of small-scale fi shers in the region;
· To gather information about and highlight the conditions, resource needs and key problems facing small-scale fishers in SADC countries;
· To identify specifi c advocacy interventions at regional level in
order to promote and protect the access of small-scale fi shers to marine resources and sustainable development.
Fifty-two delegates from Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Mauritius and South Africa, representing both government and traditional artisanal fi shers, attended the conference that was held in Simonstown near Cape Town, South Africa. Every effort was made to include all the countries in the Southern African region. Unfortunately communication with local fi sher organisations in the countries not represented