Coast KZN

21 Nov 2022

World Fisheries Day: Responsible Fisheries Alliance renews its commitment for five years

Dominic Naidoo (IOL) Picture: Russell Boyce/Reuters. The new vision of the Responsible Fisheries Alliance is to increase its impact, to be more inclusive and representative of all fisheries within South Africa..

After two years of revamping and restructuring, members of the RFA have agreed to a landmark new five-year commitment to further enhance responsible fishing practices in South African waters. The RFA is a group of like-minded organisations working together to underpin healthy marine ecosystems in southern Africa.

The organisation strives to provide a forum for environmental NGOs and responsible fishing companies to work together towards responsible and sustainable fisheries. Formed in 2009, the alliance members continue to contribute resources and time towards the sharing of information, expertise and competencies to positively affect responsible fishing while influencing policy and fishery governance.

According to a recent press release, the new vision of the RFA is to increase its impact, to be more inclusive and representative of all fisheries within South Africa. It also aims to position itself as the leading forum for sustainability in the fisheries sector as well as to foster innovation and cutting-edge solutions in line with international best practice.

The RFA has also expanded its membership and now includes the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), an NGO that has been saving seabirds since 1968. Their participation will bring much-needed expertise to address the decline of several bird species, especially the endangered African Penguin.

Other members of the alliance are WWF South Africa, Birdlife South Africa, Oceana, Sea Harvest and I&J.

Over the past 13 years, the RFA has improved the management of by-catch species, introduced tori-lines which reduced seabird mortalities by up to 90% and trained over 1 600 skippers and crew of fishing vessels.

Craig Smith, chair of the RFA, commented: “Fisheries remain the greatest threat to marine biodiversity loss, but this threat is not insurmountable.

“The RFA provides an exciting and collaborative platform between fishing companies and NGOs to explore innovative approaches and ways to scale solutions to mitigate the threat of fisheries on marine biodiversity.”