Cape Times

Small-scale fishers bemoan squid catch allotment


FISHING communitie­s say the allocation of 15% of the squid catch to the small-scale fisheries sector, as announced by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environmen­t (DFFE), was not enough.

The move is considered a historic step forward for the transforma­tion of the small-scale fishing sector.

Prior to this decision, the department said squid was not in the basket of species available to the 15 co-operatives and 600 individual small-scale fishermen and women who operate in the areas of the Eastern Cape where squid is harvested.

DFFE minister Barbara Creecy said: “Across the world, smallscale fishermen and women play an important role in promoting household food security and providing livelihood­s in areas where there are little other means of support.

“In March 2020, the department allocated 15-year rights to fishing co-operatives across the Eastern Cape. The success of these co-operatives depends, among other issues, on having a commercial­ly viable basket of species.”

This apportionm­ent will be reviewed at the beginning of every fishing season.

The review will be subject to the annual status of squid resources, fishing patterns and fishing practices of new and existing right holders, and the needs of coastal communitie­s which are dependent mainly on fishing.

Carmen Mannarino of Masifundis­e, an organisati­on that does community developmen­t work in small-scale fishing communitie­s, said its concern was around the lack of support.

“We are glad the department has included squid in the quota for small-scale fishers, despite it being such a small allocation.

“A concern that we have, however, is around the lack of support given to the co-operatives in accessing their quotas.

“They run the risk of this just being another avenue for the commercial sector to exploit the small-scale sector,” Mannarino said.

Chairperso­n of community organisati­on Coastal Links, Eastern Cape, Ntsindiso Nongcavu, said 15% of the squid catch wouldn’t make any difference.

“The minister only gave us 15% of the squid, and that won’t make any difference to us because we don’t have equipment and we haven’t developed, so that means the 15% won’t help as they say. We need to fish just to eat; that means we can’t sell to earn money.

“It would have been better if they gave us 30%, so the 15% won’t make a difference to people facing poverty.

“If 85% is given to the people who have already had their fair share, that means the minister is developing commercial­s, not smallscale fishers.

“She used us as a disguise. The input I have is that this needs to be fixed. At least 30% would make a difference,” Nongcavu said.

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