Tomorrow (Thursday April 7, 2016), is the deadline for small scale fishing communities to register their ‘Expression of Interest”.

This is the absolute deadline for submitting the Expression of Interest Forms, and communities have until midnight on April 7 to submit their forms.

In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) are registering fishers in the communities which have already submitted ‘Expression of Interest Forms’.

Craig Smith, director for small scale fishing at DAFF, said that all fishers have to go out and register at the venues and dates indicated on the Registration Schedule that has been put out by the department.

“Fishers can only register in the communities that they are part of that has registered Expression of Interest Forms so far.”

The Registration Schedule that we have published so far is only for the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape we will publish a schedule later for KwaZulu/Natal. The schedules that are out now are only for communities that have registered Expression of Interest Forms previously,” said Smith.

Smith further indicated that Communities that have registered their expressions of interests recently, will not appear on the schedule at present, but, will be accommodated later in the registration process.

“Some communities are not in the schedule, and the fishers who think that they can go and register at a registration point nearest to them, should not do that, because, they will then be registered as members of that community.”

A case in point was Monday April 4 and Tuesday April 5, when fishers from all over the Cape Town Metro descended upon Hout Bay and Mitchells Plain.

“Those two registration points and dates were allocated for the Fishers of Hangberg and Mitchells Plain/Strandfontein to register, and all the fishers who registered there, will become members of those two fishing communities.”

Smith urges fishers only to register in the communities they would like to become part of.

When fishers go and register, they should take their ID documents with them and be able to explain their 10 years and more experiences of fishing.

Should you as a fisher not be able to physically register yourself, you can also register a proxy registration, where you give someone else your ID and a letter stating that you give that person permission to register you.

“The fishers must make sure that the person they give the proxy to, knows them well and can explain to the registration officials, their history in the fishing industry.”

Documented proof that you are a fisher is not required at the time of registration, and will only be required during the appeals process.

That is when someone who registered is not recognised as a fisher, and s/he wants to appeal the decision of the department, s/he will then have to show documented proof of involvement for more than 10 years in the fishing industry.

Smith said that that the small scale fishing policy is a community based allocation process, and that fishers will be registered in the communities they are part of.

If their communities are not registered, they should not panic, a late-comers registration schedule will still be drawn up for the communities that have registered late.

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