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29 Sep 2017

Fisheries minister meets fishers in Sokhulu

Larry Bentley (Zululand Observer) Picture: Minister Senzeni Sokwana listens to the concerns of a member of the fishing community PHOTOS: Larry Bentley

Minister visits Zululand’s small-scale fishers

IN his address to fishers, Dept of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Senzeni Sokwana said coastal communities have a long history of harvesting marine living resources for various uses including fishing to sell and for their own consumption, bartering and medicinal purposes.

He was talking after visiting a mussell harvesting and monitoring operation and listening to the concerns of the fishers at the Indaba held at Sokhulu on Thursday

Legal access to these resources has become increasingly difficult due to housing developments and the declaration of protected areas.

He said the department is working to legally recognise small-scale fishing communities and ensure that their tradition of fishing and its related economic activities are recognised and supported by government.

The law has been changed to recognise the small-scale fisheries sector through the amendment of the Marine Living Resource Act (MLRA).

Monitors and harvesters on the beach collecting mussels

 

Registration of communities

Since the promulgation of the amendments, 316 fishing communities along the coastline of South Africa have been visited and just under 23 000 people registered between April and August last year.

The visits were to register and verify small-scale fishers that will benefit from marine resources through this small-scale fishing sector.

In KZN, a total of 48 fishing communities expressed their interest in being recognised as small-scale fishing communities.

Of these communities, a total of 4 085 individual people were registered and verified against set criteria.

Appeals for those who were unsuccessful were opened and closed on 8 August 2017.

The department is in the process of assessing all the appeals submitted by individuals who have been deemed not to meet the criteria.

The next step will be the formation of one co-operative per community by the end of the year.

Registered co-operatives will then be assisted to apply for a small-scale fishing right between January and March 2018.

The department is also responsible for maintaining stock levels and will address the rampant poaching of the marine stock levels.

A community member raising her concern