This year Masifundise teamed up with the One Ocean Hub Research project at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in order to assist Hondeklipbaai small-scale fishers in the Northern Cape understand and document the impact of Coffer Dam mining on their livelihoods.
The expression of the Blue Economy in South Africa, known as Operation Phakisa (OP), has seen a steady increase in extractivism along the South African coastline. For the Northern Cape, this is just a continuation of the dispossession and then destruction of the coastal lands and waters of local communities by mining giants that has taken place since colonial times.
This week the project team visited Hondeklipbaai to kickstart the research project, listen to the community and begin to understand the complex dynamics impacting their livelihoods.
Undoubtedly, the failure of the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy process to adequately capacitate local cooperatives and communities is contributing to increasing poverty in this area, forcing many to look for alternative livelihood opportunities.
Over the next year, this research partnership hopes to put a spotlight on the inadequate environmental planning processes and tools that fail to understand and address the cumulative ecological, social and economic pressures that these communities face and to make recommendations on how the Blue Economy policies can and should secure sustainable and equitable benefits for these communities.