Time for fishers to taste freedom
“Twenty one years after the advent of democracy, it is high time that small-scale fishers taste the fruits of freedom,” says Masifundise Development Trust.
Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa are calling on the authorities to go ahead and implement the small-scale fisheries policy, and to do so comprehensively.
“Our members, some 4 000 small-scale fishers from around the country, cannot wait any longer for the implementation of this policy, which they fought for and participated in formulating,” said Masifundise Director Naseegh Jaffer.
Small-Scale fishers in the Northern and Western Cape face the ill-fated Interim Relief, whilst fishers in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal have no rights to sell their catches, face unfair treatment by officials and some fishers get killed.
“The proper implementation of the SSF policy will correct historic injustices and put an end to the irregularities, inefficiencies and inequalities in the quota and interim relief systems, “said Mandla Gqamlana, of Masifundise.
Throughout the country small-scale fishers find themselves losing access to many marine resources which they use to sustain their livelihoods.
“The injustices of apartheid and colonialism continued after a democratic state was established,” said Gqamlana. “The policy provides a framework for small-scale fishers to escape a relationship of servitude and become self-sufficient.”
The benefits that the policy will bring to fishers are to be realised once this process of implementation continues.
The Policy stipulates how men, women and the youth within small-scale fishing communities will be developed. There will be jobs, food security and poverty alleviation for fishing communities.
Benefits of the new policy include the following:
- The formal, legal recognition of artisanal fishing communities, for the first time.
- A move to collective fishing rights, away from the individual quota system that excluded the majority.
- The demarcation of exclusive fishing zones for small scale fishers, where they will be able to harvest or catch anything throughout the year. The potential for ongoing sustainable income will be considerably enhanced. These zones will be out of bounds for big commercial fishing companies.
- Clear benefits for women, in fishing communities, from both fishing and value chain involvement.
- Women will be able to actively take part in fishing activities and participate in the management and regulatory systems at local and national level.
- Improved marine resource co-management.
The formulation, adoption and implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy are a big step forward for the struggle of small-scale fishers for human rights and dignity.
The policy lays the foundation for a break with the past and a new beginning of empowered fishing communities.
Women’s role in fishing industry not to be underestimated
The new small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy is strong on gender rights in fisheries. This week The Hook looks at the issue of women in fisheries.
The role of women in the fisheries industry cannot be underestimated. Women play different roles to support, uplift and protect the industry, communities and families. In fisheries, women are involved in mostly post -harvest activities.
They have always played a key role in the pre and post-harvest activities and in some areas women are the primary harvesters on intertidal resources (South African Small Scale Fisheries Policy, 2014).
For example, women are the only ones would be involved in reef gleaning, other activities will include harvesting of mussels, fish processors (smoking, salting,), selling and trading.
Women’s fishing activities take place within the community. Women are workers in seafood processing plants, as caregivers of the family and in maintaining social networks and the culture of the community and as members of fishworker movements and fishers organisations (The International Collective in Support of Fish workers, 2015).
In a study of the Role of Women in Fisheries by MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd, 2002, the authors say that “… women feel unwelcome in the seagoing fishing sub sector, but have little interest in participating anyway. In aquaculture women feel discriminated against, but to a much lower extent. Processing is the one sub sector where women are over-represented, but mainly because they predominate in low-grade unskilled jobs…”
As the South African Fishing industry is entering the roll out and implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy, Masifundise notes the important role woman play in the industry.
The small-scale fisheries policy is a policy that is based on communal rights and the development of communities. One of the objectives of the policy is to make sure that men and women get equitable benefits from the sector.
The small-scale fisheries policy will ensure that women are:
- Empowered to exercise their rights to participate in the management of the marine resources;
- Trained to participate in the marketing, tourism, aquaculture, and additional coastal economic opportunities and
- Equally represented on institutional structures.
These are some of the benefits the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy will bring to women and all those who are involved in post harvesting and other activities like bait preparation, cleaning, processing and marketing.
But the real benefits which include small-scale fishers being legally recognised, food security and poverty reduction will only be realised as soon the policy is implemented.
Report Slams 2013 allocation of Fishing Rights
By Cape Times
Allegations of irregularities and political interference in the fisheries resources allocation process (FRAP) 2013, are contained in an audit report presented to the fisheries portfolio committee in parliament this week.
The article below that appeared in the Cape Times on Wednesday 18 March, provides details of a process that was fraught with controversy.
WFFP: Fishers to take protest to national capital
By the Hindu newspaper
“Expressing dissatisfaction at the poor allocation for the fishing community in the Union Budget and the alleged neglect of the sector, members of the community under the banner of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) will take out a march to Parliament on April 22 raising their demands.”