Coastal fishing quotas and permits do not hold water for affected fishermen
An advisory panel is reviewing coastal fishing quotas that were granted in 2013 after allegations that the process was flawed and inequitable.
Coastal fishing accounts for about 10% of South Africa’s R9 billion offshore fishing industry.
About 2 200 fishermen have been operating with interim permits since filing a lawsuit against the allocations that were made in February last year. This would have prevented about half of them from working.
The fishermen allege quotas were given to a convicted gang boss, the captain of a state fisheries patrol vessel and people based far from the coast who had little, if any, involvement in the fishing industry.
Fishermen who failed to secure five-year allocations have until the end of this month to appeal, said Shaheen Moolla, who is part of a three-member panel recently set up by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana.
The review process will take two to three months and is being monitored by the Oceana Group, Sea Harvest and Irvin & Johnson, the country’s biggest commercial fishing operations. They will compete for offshore fishing quotas next year and in 2020, said Moolla.