The Masifundise and Coastal Links gender workshop ended on a high note last week. 35 women from the four coastal provinces in South Africa were brought together to discuss Ocean Grabbing. The discussions were centred on taking action against Ocean Grabbing. They also focused on educating and empowering the women. The last day of the workshop was on World Fisheries Day, 21 November, and the women wrote a statement sharing their sentiments on Ocean Grabbing.
Ocean Grabbing entails the privatisation of land and marine resources to the advantage of powerful elites and at the expense of poor communities.
South African fisher women’s statement on ocean grabbing
“We, the women of KwaZulu Natal need access to mussels to feed our families and make some money. We need business skills and access to markets. If there is a Marine Protected Area on our coastline, we want to benefit.
“We women want to regulate our own resources. We the women of KwaZulu Natal face a double oppression: oppression from ocean grabbing and oppression from patriarchy. We need this to change. We need platforms to be heard.
“We the women of Eastern Cape want control over our resources. Our traditional healers need access and control over resources. We want co-management with authorities. Profits from tourism should be made by us.
“We the women of the Western Cape and Northern Cape say NO to Marine Protected Areas without consultation processes. Ocean grabbing breaks down our families. Our men have to travel far to the coast keeping them apart from their children and their wives. We women reject mining on our coastal lands.
“We do not want weapon testing in our waters. Ocean grabbing projects us as criminals in our own ocean and along our own coastline. We need to be informed about the policies that govern our seas. We need to be equipped to deal with ocean grabbing.
“WE THE WOMEN OF SOUTH AFRICA SAY NO TO OCEAN GRABBING. PROTECT OUR LIVELIHOODS. RESTORE OUR DIGNITY.”