The Fishers of Vanderkloof, in the Northern Cape have shown an unwavering commitment to their kraal fishery, now it is time for the advisory committee to play their part and issue fishing permits, this was a sentiment by Vanderkloof fishers when they resolved all issues that has undermined the existence of the kraal fishery in the past months.

The Kraal Fishery in Luckhoff saw a number of additional kraals being built by fishers, an act which undermined an agreement they made with officials in the Vanderkloof Dam. “The fishers are not, as yet, allowed to build anymore kraals in the dam until such time they can show that they can manage the kraals that are already in the dam,” commented Carmen Mannarino of Masifundise.

However, Masifundise inland team called a meeting with the fishers so to re-establish the fishers’ commitment to the rules and procedures of the project so to have their fishery legalized.

The fishers admitted to have built additional kraals but had responded positively by agreeing that the additional kraals will be destroyed and that they will commit themselves to stick to the Kraal Fishery Management Plan.

The additional kraals were later demolished together by Fishers, Masifundise and Department of Environmental and Nature Conservation officials.

The meeting also discussed the necessity to convince other fishers that are not involved in the process to be part of the process and the phenomena of fish dying in the dam.

Masifundise inland team argued that if the other fishers choose not to be involved in the process of legalising the fishery they will thus be left out and this will leave them (fishers) to be more susceptible to food insecurity. While the fishers argued that the fish mortality in the damn is not due to the kraals and that this was a recent occurrence.

“Fishers assured us that the dead fish is not a consequence of the kraals, “said Carmen, “They argued that there are other reasons as this is a recent phenomenon, but also said that they will do their best to manage the kraals properly and avoid fish mortalities.”

Masifundise acknowledged the traditional knowledge of the fishers and also urged the fishers to maintain their moral ground, by managing the kraals properly, make sure that kraals are secure and are left clean after fishing activities. 

Masifundise recently appointed a field worker in the area and soon Rhodes University will appoint a fishery officer who will work together to manage the kraals. “With the appointment of the field worker and that of the fishery officer we are hoping there will be better communication amongst parties involved and the fish mortality will also be investigated,” commented Carmen.

The commitment and dedication showed by the fishers in mobilising themselves and solving issues that will negatively impact their food security has been amicable. “The fishers have done their work and committed to safe keeping of their traditional fishery, it is now time for the officials to play their part and issue the fishing exemption to the fishers,” contested Carmen.

Luckhoff was one of the four communities chosen by the Rhodes University to be part of an inland experimental project, but due to only the Northern Cape government funding the experiment, they have been left out and are now organising themselves to be legally recognised as traditional kraal fishers.

Masifundise, Rhodes University, together with the advisory group which consists of officials from the Department Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) amongst others are in the process of approving the Kraal Fishery Management Plan, while DAFF is in the process of developing  an inland fishery policy that will cater for inland traditional fishers.

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