Masifundise is seriously concerned about the state of the Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) sector and the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Masifundise is saying that when the policy is eventually implemented, the resources to stock the baskets for the fishing communities under the policy will almost be depleted.
A major concern for the organisation is that a number of FRAP (Fishing Rights Allocation Process) policies have already been finalised and this shows neglect towards the SSF sector. Over the years, Masifundise has lamented that DAFF favours the commercial sector and have scant regard for the SSF sector.
“We are concerned that even though Small-scale fishing communities, had put up a brave struggle and were radical in their demands which brought a policy for the sector, the sector is still disregarded by officials who put forth the needs of the wealthy over those of the poor,” Naseegh Jaffer commented.
This is in turn leading to too many small-scale fishers becoming disillusioned with the roll-out and implementation of the policy, and many if they are once again marginalised, would resort to illegal fishing methods, which the small-scale fisheries sector will seriously discourage.
In the first edition of 2017, The Hook reported that right allocation under the SSFP would not go ahead by March 1 as envisaged, however there was little progress in the different provinces. The Northern Cape is at the most advanced stage, with their appeals being ready to hand over to the minister to sign off, the Western Cape’s appeals are still being assessed, the Eastern Cape fishers have just completed their appeals, and the provisional list for Kwa/Zulu Natal still have to be announced.
Masifundise is adamant to bring fourth the plight of the fishers. The SFFP was supposed to be implemented in 2007, with the interim relief for Western and Northern Cape Fishers lasting only a year. But the sector has experienced delays after delays and given excuses after excuses by the department.
Since 2007 the department has been busy with policy development and the legislation only got approved in 2014 and only came into effect in 2016.
Meanwhile the two provinces (Western and Northern cape) are now in Interim relief 10 while small-scale fishers in Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal sit with nothing and face increasing food insecurity.
“This is an injustice to small-scale fishers to say the least and while through FRAP, resources are allocated to the commercial sector leaving us with an empty basket and an obsolete policy, we cannot sit back and let this continue” continued Jaffer.
Masifundise is now further determined to ensure that the sector is given priority and to ensure that there will be sustainable basket of resources for the sector under the policy.