The recent allocation of fishing rights are against the letter and spirit of the amended Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) and the small-scale fisheries policy, the Masifundise Development Trust has claimed.
This will undermine the socioeconomic rights of small-scale fishers, says the non-government community organisation.
According to the organisation, in the 2015-2016 fishing rights allocation process (Frap), the smallscale sector only received 28 of the 445 rights allocated to fishers, while only two small-scale fishers are due to receive net fish rights, according to the proposed allocations released last week.
In both cases, the “overwhelming majority” of rights went to the commercial sector.
Net fishing takes place in the near shore, which is meant to be a preferential zone for small-scale fishers.
The trust argues that the department is acting contrary to the amended MLRA and the smallscale fisheries policy.
“How the resources are split is an important part of the realisation of fishers’ socioeconomic rights, because it will determine if the implementation of the policy will lead to fishers acquiring their socioeconomic rights,” it noted.
It further pointed to “widespread concern” that the same patterns may pertain when lobster rights were allocated in November.
“The way the Frap is continuing, promises that inshore resources will form part of the small-scale fisheries allocation are slipping away,” said the trust.
“The apportionment of fishing rights favours individual rights rather than a basket of rights. All the line fish permits are allocated to individual rights holders, with another empty promise that all abalone will be allocated to smallscale fishers.”
It has further pointed to a lack of political will to implement real change in the fisheries rights allocation system.
– Citizen reporter