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Small-Scale Fishing Rights in Western Cape Under Review

February 23, 2021

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

The environment, forestry and fisheries minister, Barbara Creecy, is to approach the High Court to review and set aside the process of awarding small-scale fishing rights in the Western Cape.

In a statement, the environment, forestry and fisheries department declared that the decision to approach the courts flows from numerous complaints from community members about the fairness and accuracy of the verification process for small-scale fishers in the Western Cape.

According to the department, the minister will ask the “Court to order that whatever form of access to fish by communities and individual fishers have, will remain in place until the new verification process is completed”.

The department is also looking at ways to improve the interim relief dispensation that will “apply during the court application process to ensure better and more equitable access for fishing communities in the Western Cape”.

“Should the court application be successful, originally registered individuals will have an opportunity to submit new information to support their original applications and thus ensure a process that is applied fairly and consistently to all communities.”

Meanwhile, in Government Gazette 44173, the department published Generic Environmental Management Programmes in terms of the National Environmental Management Act:

• Notice 105 – Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working for Ecosystems Programme (version 0 of June 2020) – exclusion of projects from obtaining environmental authorization;
• Notice 106 – Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working for Water Programme (version 0 of October 2020) – exclusion of projects from obtaining environmental authorization;
• Notice 107 – Generic Environmental Management Programme for Working for Wetlands Programme (version 0 of October 2020) – exclusion of projects from obtaining environmental authorization.

The Environmental Management Programmes provide rules which must be complied with when planning and implementing a Working for Wetlands, Working for Water and Working for Ecosystems Project.

Section 24(2)(e) of the act empowers the minister to exclude activities identified in terms of section 24(2)(a) and (b) of the act from the need to obtain environmental authorisation based on an environmental management instrument adopted in the prescribed manner.