Fishing industry ‘facing disaster’

fishing-rod-326843_640South Africa’s fishing industry is on the verge of disaster due to administrative paralysis within the Fisheries Department, community stakeholders have warned.

Costly delays in allocating long-term fishing rights and implementing new small-scale fishing legislation is crippling South African fishermen – and promoting poaching.

This is according to several industry veterans, speaking on the eve of the latest rights allocation.

“It’s a mess. We urgently need to get things back on track,” Andy Johnston of the Artisinal Fishers’ Association said.

Fishermen, both subsistence and larger commercial enterprises, said they were mainly concerned about delays in allocating long-term rights, many of which must be completed in the next few months.

Lucrative hake long-line rights are due later this month, followed by 10-year lobster rights in July.

However, industry sources said the department had yet to consult the affected industries or conduct public participation – which they were obliged to do.

About 300 perlemoen quota holders are also operating on exemptions due to a failure to allocate long-term rights last year.

And about 2 000 subsistence fishermen are still in limbo with only interim relief permits.

The department failed to respond.

-Bobby Jordan

 

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