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Small-Scale Fishing Sector Under the Spotlight

November 13, 2019

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

13 November 2019

Small-scale fishers in the Western Cape have for the first time been granted access to fishing during the 2019/20 West Coast rock lobster season.

In a statement, the environment, forestry and fisheries department indicated that this was part of the transition to the new small-scale fishing sector.

The announcement follows a series of stakeholder workshops with fishing communities in the Western Cape.

Stakeholders called for the roll-out of the small-scale fisheries sector in the province to be speeded up and for the department to provide a transition from the current interim relief arrangement to a permanent and more structured small-scale fisheries sector in the Western Cape.

According to the environment, forestry and fisheries minister, Barbara Creecy, it is imperative for small-scale fishers to be granted access to fishing while they are waiting for their 15-year fishing rights to be allocated.

The interim relief lists have been amended to include small-scale fishers.

Interim relief fishers and small-scale fishers will equally share the West Coast rock lobster allocation allocated to them for the 2019/20 fishing season.

The minister has also announced that no caretakers will be involved in the preparation for the West Coast rock lobster 2019/20 fishing season.

Individuals will be appointed to assist interim relief fishers to complete permit and license application forms, collating all the necessary supporting documents required by the department, and ensuring that fishers do not sign more than one contract at a time.

“Among other responsibilities, the authorized person will also have to ensure that each fisher is able to exercise their right to enter into a contract with a marketer of their choice, submit completed permit and vessel application forms to the Department; sign landing slips and, if necessary, nominate additional fishers to assist with signing of landing slips against IR community’s permit; and assist any fisher with any information relating to the permit such as total of fish landed, information about export permits, and the like.”

The department also announced that the minister is considering setting up an independent panel to “review the appeals of all unsuccessful applicants, and for it to provide a revised list of fishers who can be declared as additional small-scale fishers to the Minister for a decision”.