The contents of the latest Government Gazette notice are likely to be challenged by the three sectors identified as eligible for small-scale fisheries.
While they have been hearing for some time that they will possibly have to give up some of the fishing allocations they have enjoyed, it is now on paper. All that remains is for it to be made official.
Small-scale Fisheries Policy and cooperatives
Small-scale fishers will no doubt be delighted at the news. This is afterall what they have been asking for since the early 2000s.
For them, the implementation of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy will be a hard-won battle that is finally becoming a reality for fishing communities.
It comes at a price though as small-scale fishers have had to arrange themselves into cooperatives which forces the regulation of their activities.
Value chain and other opportunities
The government’s intention is to positively impact the lives of small-scale fishers, improve food security and advance vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the disabled.
While the concept of cooperatives might not suit everybody, it does enable coastal fishing communities to participate in the whole value chain. It also provides the oopportunity to create other economic possibilities.
What the minister proposes is that that the resource split between local commercial and small-scale fishing occur as follows:
Traditional linefish sector
- The local commercial fishing and small-scale fishing sectors will each receiving 50% of the TAE apportionment. The traditional linefish sector currently consists of a fleet of 455 vessels and 3450 crew. Of these, 395 and 3007 (87.16%) crew are in the commercial sector which enjoys 86,8% of the TAE. The remaining, vessels, crew and TAE operate in the small-scale sector.
- Commercial right holders in the traditional linefish sector can continue harvesting their allocations until their rights expire on 31 December 2020.
- The individual commercial right and/or exemption holder in the traditional linefish sector can choose to operate in the small-scale fisheries sector as a member of a small-scale fisheries cooperative.
- The individual commercial right and/or exemption holder may apply to register a small-scale fisheries cooperative once the registration process commences in the near future as per the small-scale fishing regulations.
Squid fishing sector
- The local commercial fishing sector will receive 75% of the TAE and the small-scale fishing sector will receive 25% respectively. Currently the squid fishing sector employs 2443 crew (295000 person days) in which 75% or 221250 person days is apportioned to the commercial sector and 25% (73750 person days) to small-scale fishing.
- Commercial right holders in the squid sector can continue harvesting their allocations until their rights expire on 31 December 2020.
Abalone fishing sector
- The local commercial fishing and small-scale fishing sectors will each receive 50% of the TAC. This is currently set at 50.5 tons and is fished exclusively by the commercial abalone fishing sector.
- Commercial abalone exemption holders can continue harvesting their allocations until their exemptions have expired.
- The individual commercial and/or exemption holder in the abalone sector can choose to operate in the Small-scale fisheries sector as a member of the small-scale fisheries cooperative
- Alternatively, the individual commercial right and/or exemption holder may register a small-scale fishing cooperative once the registration process starts in the near future as per the small-scale fishing regulations.
The government wants the changes in the resource split for the three fisheries to come into effect from 1 January 2021.
The gazette notice though does leave some unanswered questions which is why there is still room to comment.
There is opportunity to forward written representations on the proposed resource split to the Department within 30 calendar days from the date of publication of the 23 October Government Gazette notice.
Deliver these by mail, hand, email, or fax transmission. Please note that written comments received after that date may not be considered.
Written comments previously submitted in response to Government Notice No. 660 published in Government Gazette No. 42457 of 13 May 2019 relating to the proposed resource split between local commercial and small-scale fishing in the traditional linefish and squid fishing sectors, will also be considered. Those who submitted comments in response to that notice may supplement their comments in response to this notice.
Available at :
https://wwwfishingindustrynewssa.com/ [Accessed 30 Oct 2020]