8 October 2014

Fishing Co-operatives – What is to be done?

Fisher communities that set up fishing co-operatives outside of the Small-scale fisheries policy, will not quality for small-scale fishing rights, Masifundise has said.

Masifundise’s Mandla Gqamlana explained that communities are free to set up any type of co-operatives but when it came to fisheries co-operatives, only one entity can quality for small-scale fishing rights.

“If you have an existing co-operative then you have to dissolve it before you can qualify in terms of the SSF policy,” he said.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) will require fishing communities to have co-operatives that are in line with their rules and regulations. These co-operatives should be formed as per the department’s guiding principles. Some of the guiding principles include a verification process of all fishers before a small-scale fishing co-operative could be formed.

The verification process will be in place to make sure that the owners of the fishing co-operation are indeed indigenous fisherfolk and/or do come from a long standing fishing community.

Furthermore, the department will have structures at grassroots level to assist various fishing communities to set up and manage their co-operative.

Gqamlana said that communities should make use of government incentives in order to set up general co-operatives but stressed that the small-scale fisheries co-operatives would have to follow prescribed processes.

The government assists certain groups of individuals to start up co-operatives in order to be able to access resources to assist with poverty alleviation.

The Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS) is a 100% grant for registered primary co-operatives that is offered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The objective of the CIS is to improve the viability and competitiveness of co-operative enterprises by lowering their cost of doing business through an incentive that supports Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (https://www.thedti.gov.za/financial_assistance/financial_incentive.jsp?id=11&subthemeid=3)

DAFF gives some detail on SSF policy roll out plan

A range of stakeholders, including Masifundise and Coastal Links South Africa attended briefing sessions by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) this week, on the roll out of the Small-scale fisheries (SSF) policy.

DAFF informed fishers and their representatives that they were preparing for the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) to be finally promulgated so that the implementation of the SSF policy can proceed in a legal framework.

The department was working on finalising the co-operative model that was going to be used and fine-tuning management principles that pertained to the basket of species that will be allocated.

Representatives said that 2015 would see the final round of Interim Relief (IR10) before the implementation of the new policy gets underway in 2016.

Documents summarised at the information session will be circulated to stakeholders by the end of next week.

Interim Relief Season 9

Small- Scale Fishers in the Western Cape were told on Wednesday 8 October that the Interim Relief 9 (IR 9) will commence from 15 November. The stakeholder meeting, attended by more than community representatives, was held at the DAFF offices in Cape Town.

On the agenda was the current IR list, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), starting of the season and requirements for the permit completion.

Community representative should submit their information to the department by the 20 of October.

An information pack that includes forms that have to be filled and submitted to the department will be circulated to the represantative for easy flow of information.

Rumours around Crayfish allocations

There has been a rumor going around that the total allowable catch for crayfish for the upcoming season will go up from 2 167.06 tons to 5000 tons.  This is not the case.

In fact, the Total Allowable Catch for crayfish for the next season has not yet been set and is waiting the minister’s decision.

The department has recommended a TAC according to the status of the South African Marine Fishery resources report and will announce it as soon as the minister takes a decision.

Last year, the then deputy director general for fisheries management reasserted DAFF’s commitment to the implementation of the WCRL operational management plan aimed at the recovery of the resource.

He said, the department will remain steadfast in their unwavering commitment to manage South African Fishery resources in an ecologically sound manner based on proven scientific principles. He further said that DAFF were committed to contribute to development of impoverished coastal communities. (DAFF media Statement – 2013, November 6)

Masifundise wishes to encourage DAFF to make these words a reality in line with the objectives of our democratic dispensation.

Masifundise has also urged fisher folk to please verify information they hear before they disseminate it to others. Masifundise is committed to assist fishers to obtain correct information at all time, for clarity and relevant information do contact the office.

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