WWF-SASSI has recently updated a draft WWF-SASSI assessment for West Coast Rock Lobster for it to remain red-listed in the WWF-SASSI list and consumer tools.
Interested parties were informed to comment on the second and final public comment period for the species. WWF-SASSI says that although the draft colour remains unchanged from the first public comment period in May 2016, there has been some updates to the content of the assessment.
Interested parties were given 14 days to comment because this is the second public comment period.
The West Coast Rock Lobster is a high value species and one that brings much needed income for the small-scale fishers and contributes substantially of small-scale fishing communities.
The WFF SASSI programme has red-listed the WCRL and justified the listing to the species “sitting precariously close to collapse”.
Those who will comment on the WCRL assessment are recommended to substantiate their comments by providing appropriate scientific documents, such as government scientific working group documents or peer-reviewed journal papers.
“Only substantiated comments will be considered for purposes of altering any assessment outcome”, SASSI-WWF correspondence.
Masifundise and Coastal Links has in many instances said that the SASSI programme ignores the indigenous knowledge of the fisher and only relies on scientific evidence. The organisation have also said that they are for the preservation and protection of marine life but when this happens at the expense of the small-scale fisher then such activities should be challenged.
Naseegh Jaffer, commenting on the correspondence said that this could be disastrous for the small-scale fisher, “It will justify DAFF allocating less kreef to SSF, the market price will affect us badly, Illegal fishing will grow and criminalisation will increase”.
He further said that we can’t keep on having small-scale fishers bearing the brunt of harmful activities undertaken by the commercial fisheries, yet our government seem to be endorsing unruly behaviour.
In response of the call Masifundise Development Trust submitted the following comments:
In light of the recent announcement of the West Coast Rock Lobster season, Masifundise has submitted the following comments regarding the red-listing of the WCRL:
- The current TAC announcement does not properly recognise the Small-Scale Fishing Sector as per the MLRA promulgated by the President of South Africa in May 2014.
- There is still no transformation in the sector in so much so that the TAC provided for interim relief holders, under the “small-scale fishing sector” falls short of the legal requirement which is mentioned in Section 19 of the Amended Marine Living Resources Act.
- Furthermore, the allocation that is deemed to fall under the “Small-Scale Fishing Sector” is not and will not be viable for the entire Small-Scale Fishing sector, due to the fact that the current implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy will take in more bona-fide fishers who were left out of the interim relief.
- The Red-listing of the WCRL will cause great problems for us in that it gives DAFF a platform to justify why DAFF is allocating the same amount of WCRL to the sector (Interim relief).
- Red-listing of the WCRL will cause the price of the species to increase dramatically, making it very hard for our fishers to enter and profit from the market.
- Lastly the spin-off effect of increasing prices is the increase of illegal and unregulated fishing which will lead to the criminalising of our fishers.
We thus find it unfortunate that you are continuing to red-list the species, as we believe that the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries should have proper transformation and management mechanisms to alleviate the poor management of the species.
We therefore request you to reconsider your decision to red-list WCRL.
The WFF call has requested interested parties to still give input into the listing of WCRL, and their comments will be accepted until 23 November 2016 at 5pm.
To find out more about the WCRL Red Listing or to send comments: Phone: +27 21 657 6600, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.wwf.org.za/sassi