28 January 2015

Welcome to the first edition of The Hook for 2015. This information sheet is published every Wednesday and distributed via our database, our website and social media. It provides information on the work of Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa as well as general content pertaining to the small-scale fisheries sector here and in other parts of the world.

Editor’s comment: Policy must be implemented – immediately!

We plan to make 2015 the year of small-scale fishers. This is the year when the small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy MUST be implemented. We will not tolerate any further delays. The rotten interim relief system has been in place for nine years. The court had ordered that interim relief should be introduced for two years while the SSF policy is formulated and adopted. That was way back in 2007. The interim relief system is riddled with irregularities and causes divisions in poor communities. It must come to an end as rapidly as possible.

The SSF policy offers a paradigm shift from a destructively competitive system to a collective model with strong empowerment and developmental elements. It has the potential to move people from servitude to self-sufficiency.

We have held back since the SSF policy was adopted last year, hoping for rapid implementation. But we see no sign of urgency, no resolve from the centres of power.

In December, a big delegation from Coastal Links South Africa went to the offices of DAFF to hand over a memorandum with a list of grievances about the interim relief process.  This has been the start of a new energy among small-scale fishers. We realise that we have to make our individual and collective voices heard loud and clear in order to move the SSF policy forward. Our 4 000 members countrywide will be vocal and visible this year as we shepherd the SSF policy into the implementation phase.

The fishers will organise and mobilise under the banner of Coastal Links and Masifundise Development Trust (which serves as the secretariat of CLSA).

Each edition of The Hook will reflect on the activities that take place and the progress in the process. From our side, the call for implementation will grow louder and clearer with each passing day. There is no turning back!

Only pain, not relief in Interim Relief

2014 was yet another year filled with suffering and disappointment for many Small-Scale fishers in the Western and Northern Cape. Interim Relief 9 permit brought more difficulties for communities. There was no change in the manner of how the process was handled by DAFF, infact matters got worse proving that it was time that the IR permit process is brought to an end.

The late issuing of permits, the inclusion of non-fishers in beneficiary lists and general mismanagement by the DAFF deprived fishers of sustainable livelihoods and caused conflict in communities.

“Interim relief permits cause various problems. It’s time for the implementation of the policy, it is time for basket rights and review of MPAs and it is time small-scale fishers are given their rights to fish,” said Norton Dowries, the vice chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa’s Langebaan branch.

“The department must identify organisations who they can discuss issues and solve these issues with, organisations like Coastal Links SA and Masifundise Development Trust,” he said.

Coastal Links and Masifundise have persistently brought areas of corruption and mismanagement in the allocation process, to the attention of DAFF officials. But nothing got done, instead calls to intervene and assist the department to manage the process better were seen as an undermining stance which aimed to cause havoc for the department.

“DAFF presented a whole set of new forms and conditions for the application of the IR9 to us, and this caused chaos. This resulted in us having to go back and forth to DAFF offices since last November. It becomes more and more complicated for the IR fishers, many don’t have the transport, the office equipment, most of the fishers just don’t have extra cash to spend like that,” lamented Hilda April, a CLSA member from Mamre.

In November 2014, more than 100 small-scale fishers from fishing communities in the Western and Northern Cape gathered at DAFF’s offices in Cape Town, Foreshore, to deliver a memorandum. The fishers demanded their rights, permits and answers regarding the IR permit and the implementation of the Policy from the department. But this bore little fruit.

From bona fide fishers being removed from list, to fishers in the West Coast receiving their permits late, the IR 9 has been a scourge for the small-scale fishing industry.

“We have stood back for way too long, we won the fight in 2006 at the Equality Court, and if we have to take legal action forcing the department to implement the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy effectively and with no further delays, we will,” commented Christian Adams, Chairperson of CLSA.

Fishers need a practical solution to the IR permit problem, and that solution is the rapid and effective implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy!


IDRC research based project

Masifundise is part of the International Development Research Centre’s three year project which will look at how the international tenure guidelines can be used by communities living adjacent and in Marine Protected Areas.

Masifundise’s Leila Emdon with Carsten Pederson attended a briefing session, hosted by IDRC in Uganda. The briefing session took place from 12 to 16 January this year.  The session was attended by representatives from various international organisations including PLAAS, Trans National Institute and Katosi Women Development Trust.

“The project aims to find out how (through action research) the tenure guidelines can be used by communities as an empowering tool in their struggles for human rights in relation to MPAs and to build capacity and political consciousness among affected communities,” said Emdon.

The project will take place in South Africa, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda and will bring out  insights that can be useful to other social movements also confronted by  different impacts of large-scale land deals on various community groups , the differentiated political reactions by affected communities – and the way in which (inter) national governance instruments and principles can be mobilized to protect and promote the interest of poor people in the context of current resource deals.

2014 a terrible year for Gaza fisherfolk

by Ma’an News

The Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip has led to immense hardships for Palestinian fisherfolk. A news report indicated that fishers reportedly lost an estimated $9 million last year, because Israeli forces prevented the Strip’s 4 000 fishermen from engaging in any fishing during the 50-day summer war.

The report stated: “This decline in revenues comes on top of the restrictions imposed for the last eight years as part of the Israeli siege, which severely limited the range Palestinians can fish in and led to a poverty rate around 90 percent for fishermen, even before the war.” Read more 

Pakistan fisher leader’s dire warning on climate change and food shortages

by Dawn Newspaper

Food shortage and climate change were major threats facing the world and decisive action was required to turn the situation around, according to speakers at a seminar organised by the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (PFF) earlier this month.

The newspaper Dawn quoted PFF chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah as stating that Thar, Kohistan and coastal areas in Sindh had turned into Ethiopia as a result of failed policies, massive corruption and step-motherly treatment on the part of the federal government with the smaller federating units. Read more



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