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Aquaculture Development Bill in the Pipeline

April 28, 2022

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The forestry, fisheries and the environment department plans to table the Aquaculture Development Bill in parliament during the 2022/23 financial year.

The department confirmed this in a briefing in parliament on its approved 2022/23 annual performance plan and key programme priorities.

An Aquaculture Development Bill was tabled in parliament in June 2018 but was withdrawn in 2020.

Cabinet approved the bill for tabling in May 2018.

In its statement at the time, cabinet pointed out that the draft bill seeks to promote aquaculture development in the oceans economy.

The draft bill was published for comment in 2016.

The national assembly revived the bill at the beginning of March 2020.

Some of the objectives the bill sought to achieve include the setting up of an Intergovernmental Authorisations Committee, a National Aquaculture Intergovernmental Forum, a Provincial Aquaculture Intergovernmental Forum and a National Aquaculture Stakeholder Liaison Forum.

The plan was also to appoint aquaculture extension officers and specialists on contract.

Other objectives included to promote coordination of aquaculture research and development activities; enable the aquaculture sector to be regulated more effectively; promote transformation of the aquaculture sector; promote investment into the aquaculture sector; promote aquaculture as a farming activity; and make provision for appropriate support services.

In the briefing, the department also pointed out that it plans to submit the West Coast Rock Lobster Anti-Poaching Strategy for approval.

A Draft Shark Biodiversity Management Plan will also be submitted to the forestry, fisheries and the environment minister for approval for public comments.

The department also plans to have the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity adopted by parliament during 2022.

At the end of last year, the minister, during a speech to the Custodians of Professional Hunting and Conservation South Africa Annual General Meeting, declared that the White Paper is under development.

The minister added that the overarching policy will “greatly contribute to an inclusive, transparent and transformative wildlife, industry that would guarantee a thriving future for people and nature for generations to come”.

In another briefing on the Wildlife Welfare Forum, the department pointed out that Draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Wildlife Welfare Forum were drawn up at an inception meeting in February 2022.

The TOR aims to set out the following key areas in respect of the Forum:

  • Purpose, objectives and functions;
  • Values and principles;
  • Composition/membership;
  • Operational procedures, including frequency of meetings; and
  • Reporting and accountability.

A Code of Conduct has also been developed which will be an Appendix to the TORs to be signed by eligible prospective members.

The department confirmed that, once finalised, the TOR will be submitted to the minister for approval.

In another briefing on the panel of experts appointed to review scientific basis for the breach of the mouth of the Lake St Lucia estuary, the department informed parliament that the Panel’s report is being critically studied in preparation for engagement with all stakeholders.

The Panel will also draw up an implementation plan and facilitate implementation of some of the recommendations.