On 14 June 2023, Masifundise hosted a roundtable meeting together with the inland small-scale fishers (SSF) from Venterstad and official representatives from the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA).

The roundtable forms part of a series of engagements with the ECPTA around issues that impact inland SSF fishers in the Oviston Nature Reserve. Inland fishers from Venterstad, Norvalspont and Oviston have been accessing the reserve to fish at the dam for many years and rely on the freshwater species for food and livelihood.

The aim of the roundtable was to find a workable solution to issues that impact small-scale fishers living around the reserve.

During the meeting, Sinovuyo Jijana (acting manager at ECPTA) engaged with the fishers around challenges he had encountered at the reserve including the destruction of the reserve fence and instances of what is deemed to be illegal fishing. Local fishers present at the meeting acknowledged this point and moving forward, they committed to assist ECPTA on these issues by reporting any illegal activity in the reserve.

“The inland fishers took the opportunity to advocate for assistance from ECPTA in collecting wood of which they can sell in their communities. They also reiterated the need to reconsider the access fee, as it is not feasible for fishers to pay. Inland small-scale fishers who depend on fishing for a livelihood cannot afford exorbitant access fees.” said Clarence Oliphant from Masifundise.

In closing, ECPTA officials proposed that fishers draft a letter listing their solutions and it will be sent to the regional offices. In turn, this would assist in strengthening engagement between fishers and ECPTA to support and protect the work of inland small-scale fishers.


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