His­tory is made for NC fish­er­men

Vuk'uzenzele - - Ggenenereraall - Amu Chauke

Af­ter an 11-year jour­ney to ac­quire their fish­ing rights, fish­er­men from the small fish­ing town of Port Nol­loth in the North­ern Cape can fi­nally get on their fish­ing boats and catch line fish and rock lob­ster – on their own terms.

Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Min­is­ter, Sen­zeni Zok­wana, re­cently launched South Africa’s first smallscale fish­eries co­op­er­a­tives - the Port Nol­loth and the Hon­dek­lip­baai co­op­er­a­tives, which also marks the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the small-scale fish­eries pol­icy.

The two small-scale fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties have now re­ceived ba­sic train­ing and they have now reg­is­tered their own co­op­er­a­tive for the pur­pose of ap­ply­ing for 15-year fish­ing rights. Min­is­ter Zok­wana said the fish­ing rights are a game changer for the small fish­eries sec­tor.

“We want them to build their own funds so that they can progress from be­ing small-scale fish­ers to [big play­ers].

The launch comes af­ter Zok­wana ap­proved the fi­nal list of small-scale fish­ers for the North­ern Cape in Oc­to­ber 2017, the East­ern Cape in De­cem­ber 2017 and KwaZulu-Na­tal in De­cem­ber 2017 - with the ex­cep­tion of the Western Cape com­mu­ni­ties.

In the North­ern Cape, Zok­wana has de­clared 103 in­di­vid­ual small-scale fish­ers.

Zok­wana said the fish­ing rights give lo­cal fish­er­men dig­nity and turn them from fish­ing il­le­gally to do­ing so un­der pro­tected rights. “Our peo­ple have been turned into il­le­gal fish­ers be­cause there was no sys­tem that guided them. … We want to get them to un­der­stand the value of the fish that they are go­ing to har­vest. We must be able to get mar­kets for them. We must build in­fra­struc­ture for stor­age.”

Morgan John­son, a lo­cal fish­er­man and the chair­per­son of the Port Nol­loth co­op­er­a­tive, said 75 house­holds will ben­e­fit from the fish­ing rights.

John­son said the launch marked an end of a fish­ing rights ap­pli­ca­tion jour­ney that for 11 years.

He said the co­op­er­a­tive was made up of lo­cal fish­er­men, in­clud­ing women and young peo­ple.

The board of the co­op­er­a­tive is made up of seven mem­bers – five men and two women.

As part of the fish­ing rights, they will be send­ing boats into the wa­ters to catch line-fish species like snoek and cape bream, horders, mus­sels and kelp.

“There are 75 house­holds out of Port Nol­loth that will ben­e­fit from the small-scale fish­ing rights pol­icy. Hon­dek­lip­baai, is a smaller town than us and about 28 house­holds will ben­e­fit from the fish­ing per­mit,” John­son said.

He said the co­op­er­a­tive cur­rently has nine fish­ing boats and 15 to 20 small lob­ster ves­sels. A quar­ter of the fish­er­men are young peo­ple.

“There are 75 house­holds out of Port Nol­loth

that will ben­e­fit from the small-scale fish­ing rights

pol­icy.”

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