16 July 2014

Spreading the Message

A mini-exhibition at the offices of Masifundise in Mowbray will be finally completed this month. The exhibition appears on the inside walls and depicts the histories of Masifundise and Coastal Links and the struggles of small-scale fishers for a progressive policy.

This initiative is part of a broader effort by Masifundise and Coastal Links to strengthen its communication capacity in the last eighteen months.

The inside exhibition complements a wall mural on the front facade of the double-storey Masifundise headquarters. The mural reflects life in small-scale fishing communities and has attracted much public attention. The process was spearheaded by veteran artist Garth Erasmus.

Last month, the first edition for 2014 of the quarterly newsletter Fishers Net was printed in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu and distributed to fishing communities countrywide.

At about the same time, a brochure on the small-scale fisheries policy, produced in partnership with a Canadian agency, was completed. It contains extracts of the policy. It is a smaller version of the SSF policy Handbook that was produced earlier this year.

Masifundise, Coastal Links and a range of partners have been instrumental in the formulation of the new policy and active in promoting its adoption by government.

The MDT and CLSA Communication Unit has developed a comprehensive communication strategy for the World Forum of Fisher Peoples General Assembly, which will take place in Cape Town from 1 to 5 September. 150 delegates from South Africa and about 40 other countries are expected to attend.

There are plans to give this Weekly Update a makeover and expand its reach substantially.

The publications produced are all uploaded onto MDTs website and Facebook site.

Zone B still Zoned Out for Langebaan Fishers

The dispute around access to fishing Zone B of the Langebaan Lagoon is still ongoing.

Traditional fishers headed for court earlier this year as part of their efforts to change their current fishing conditions. They are restricted to fishing in Zone A, which makes it difficult for them to have sustainable livelihoods.

Recently the Legal Resources Centre lawyers obtained a court order forcing the Minister to file a record of her decision to keep the fishers out of Zone B which she then did. LRC are currently preparing supplementary papers to respond to the record.

In January this year, the trek-net fishers of Langebaan went to court to assert their right to earn sustainable livelihoods.

Net fishers, through their organisation, Coastal Links South Africa lodged a court case against the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Department of Environmental Affairs, South African National Parks and the West Coast National Park in defence of their livelihoods.

The aim for the court case was to persuade these government departments and agencies to set aside certain conditions restricting fishers to only catch fish in Zone A of the Langebaan Lagoon.

For the last fifty years the survival of the Langebaan netfishers have come under increased pressure, due to the government, both local and national having decided that the Langebaan Lagoon is a good tourist attraction.

It has been marketed as such, development to accommodate tourists and holiday makers has sprung up all over Langebaan, and, today the tourist industry is booming.

This was done at the expense of the small-scale net fishing community of Langebaan, who have to compete with all these holiday makers when they have to go out and catch fish.

All these activities scare away the fish, and the holiday makers get in the way of the fishers and their nets, reducing their daily catch considerably and causing considerable financial losses in the braking of their nets.

On top of that, the government departments and agencies is upholding certain conditions which restrict the Langebaan traditional fishers to only catch their fish in a certain area in the lagoon, where they have to compete with the holiday makers for space, and where the harders, the fish species they catch are not as plentiful.

This threatens their ability to earn a sustainable livelihood on a daily basis.

The lagoon has been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA), which has its aim to restrict certain activities to protect the marine life in the lagoon, and it has been divided into three Zones, namely Zone A, B and C.

Zone C is a complete no take zone, which means that no-one is allowed to catch fish in Zone C, it is also an area which is reserved for breeding and replenishment of the fish stock.

The traditional net-fishers have been restricted to only catch fish in Zone A, but, a few white fishers, due to an agreement they signed with the Parks Board during the last years of apartheid, are allowed to fish in Zone B.

Traditional fishers of Langebaan would prefer that they be allowed to fish in Zone B, since there is a larger stock of harders, and because they do not target fish that is in need of protection that is found in Zone B, as the recreational fishers does.

Traditional fishers have waged a protracted struggle to have their rights to fish in Zone B restored, because at the moment they must compete with recreational fishers, kite flyers, scuba divers and the general holiday maker in Zone A.

SSF Policy Handbook –Focus on Right Holding and allocation of small-scale fishing rights.

Masifundise and Coastal Links are engaged in programmes that give fishers a deeper understanding of the Small-scale fisheries policy.

MDT and CLSA have produced a SSF Handbook which covers critical aspects of the policy, from defining a small-scale fisher to explaining how rights are to be allocated to communities.

This week, we focus on the process of fishing rights allocation and the criteria of the fishing community that can hold fishing rights. This section is found on pages five to eight of the SSF Policy Handbook

Read more: https://www.masifundise.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/SSFpolicyENG1.pdf

Join Masifundise’s Programme Office

Masifundise has a vacancy for a Programme Developer whose work will focus on supporting the struggle of fishers against social and economic injustices.

Masifundise is seeking to appoint a person with outstanding communication and collaboration skills and a deepened political understanding of the root causes of social, environmental and economic injustices. The key areas of work are close collaboration with fisher movements from around the world and passionate advocacy work in support of fisher peoples.

For almost a decade, Masifundise has played a leading role as part of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples – a mass based social movement of small-scale fishers across the world. The fight for social and economic justice, including the rights of fishers to access natural resources, is at the centre of Masifundise’s work.

Read More here: http://wp.me/p29R58-hz


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