Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
A draft policy on inland fishers that aims to ensure the sustainable development of the inland fisheries sector is being drawn up.
The environment, forestry and fisheries department revealed this in a briefing in parliament on the fisheries management branch and responses to inputs made by small-scale and commercial stakeholders.
The department added that an extensive consultative process is currently underway.
The draft policy was presented at the minister and members of executive council meeting on 12 June 2020 where it was approved for tabling at National Economic Development and Labour Council.
According to the department, the objectives of the Inland Fishing Policy are:
• Developmental Fisheries Governance Institutions;
• Equity and Transformation;
• Growing Inland Fisheries Value Chains;
• Sustainable Fisheries Management;
• Institutional Arrangements;
• Public Sector Organisational Capacity; and
• Trained Officials and Resource Users.
The department also pointed out that funding for start-up and new entrants in the aquaculture sector remains a challenge which impacts on transformation of the sector.
The department plans to address many of the challenges in the Draft Aquaculture Development Bill.
A draft bill was tabled in parliament in 2018 but lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.
It was revived by the national assembly in March 2020 but was subsequently withdrawn.
The department is also engaging the small business development department to ascertain how further support can be provided to new entrants in the sector through mentorship, training and incubation.
A comprehensive review of the Marine Living Resources Act in the 2021/2022 financial year is also on the cards.
Meanwhile, the department published two notices in terms of the National Forest Act pertaining to the Grey Dell and Fort Grey Forests areas:
• Government Gazette 43699 – consultation on the intention to declare the Grey Dell and Fort Grey forests areas as a controlled forest area under section 17(2) of the National Forests Act – purposes of preventing deforestation and for rehabilitation of natural forest and associated habitat that was damaged and degraded – comment within 14 days of date of publication;
• Gazette 43700 – consultation on intention to declare the Grey Dell and Fort Grey forest areas as natural forest under section 7(2) of the National Forests Act – all indigenous tree cover in any stage of development occurring on the indicated properties in the Grey Dell and Fort Grey Forests areas with incorporation of interspersed open land, degraded forest and planted forest serving as nursery crop – comment within 14 days of date of publication.