RECENTLY, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), acting on behalf of Masifundise and Coastal Links, sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), requesting a meeting to discuss the splitting of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

DAFF was given four days to respond.

Mandla Gqamlana, programme manager at Masifundise, said that up to now there has been no response from DAFF on the issue, and together with LRC a decision has been taken to lodge a complaint with the Equality Court.

Gqamlana said that the Equality Court case has never been closed, that it has merely been postponed until such time as the government has implemented the provisions of the court ruling.

“The writing of the small scale fishery policy, the amendment to the MLRA and the promulgation of the regulations and the implementation of the policy, are only part of the ruling of the court,” said Gqamlana.

Overall, Gqamlana said that the ruling of the Equality Court was for the realisation of the socio economic rights of the small scale fishing community in South Africa.

DAFF must come out publicly and say what the TAC will be.

“How the resources are split, is an important part of the realisation of fishers’ socio-economic rights, because it will determine if the implementation of the policy will lead to fishers acquiring their socio-economic rights. The policy implementation might be meaningless and not make a dent.”

“That’s why we must go back to the Equality Court.’

The decision to consider possible court action was taken by Masifundise, Coastal Links, Legal Resources and several other stakeholders at a round-table meeting in February this year.

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