On 27th June, the Vanderkloof inland fishers and Masifundise met with the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental affairs, Rural Development and Land Reform (DAEARDLR) to discuss the way forward for the Experimental Fisheries Project in Vanderkloof.
The project is aimed at solving food insecurity in the community of Keurtjieskloof and Petrusville. It also seeks to develop a small-scale fisheries industry within the Vanderkloof fishing communities.
The DAEARDLR has been running this project for the past seven years and it has officially come to an end. The fishing communities now have the responsibility to take charge of the project and participate in collection of data for research purposes.
Maia Nangle, Project Coordinator at Masifundise, shared the challenges that the inland fishing communities faced during the project,
“The project was a challenge because it did not benefit the community in the way it was intended to. The intention was to supply inland small-scale fishers with a bag of fish to sell so that they are able to build a starting capital. With this capital, the inland fishers would then buy more fish from the project and sell it at a profit. This would allow for them to generate an income for themselves.”
The fishers were also supposed receive equipment, such as scales, to assist them with this process. However, this did not happen according to plan.
During the meeting with DAEARDLR, it was decided that there were 6 fishers from, Petrusville and Keurtjieskloof that would register themselves as a cooperative and develop a fishing ground, with the boats provided by the department, where fish are caught.
On 12 August, the inland fishers and Masifundise attended an information session with the Small Enterprise Developmental Agency (SEDA). During the session, SEDA gave advice on how to register as a legal entity and explored the pros and cons around establishing co-operative structures.
With the ownership of the project in the hands of the community, it is possible that the project will better suit the customs and needs of the community.