PRETORIA-- South Africa's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Senzeni Zokwana, has instructed his department's senior officials to fast-track the process of allocating fishing rights to small-scale fisheries and communities in the country's four coastal provinces.
Zokwana said the impediments in the West Coast province rock lobster fishing rights allocation process (WCRL/FRAP) was due to tip-offs from communities about many fishermen, who were to be allocated fishing rights, but were being used as fronts by big established companies.
An appeal process has to be put in place to deal with these [claims] so that we empower the real previously disadvantaged communities, and not the big players through the backdoor. I have directed that such an appeal process be finalised by 31 August 2018, Zokwana said in a statement here Thursday.
The West Coast Rock Lobster season commences on 1 December. The three other coastal provinces -- Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape -- will allocate rights to small-scale fisheries from the beginning of September.
Zokwana said in line with the Marine Living Resources Act, he was committed to fast-tracking the entry of fishermen who were previously disadvantaged in the fishing sector.
I want to see diversification and new enterprises emerging from the previously disadvantaged players. Marine resources harvesting cannot be an exclusive reserve of a few big companies. Government, as the custodian of marine life and oceans, has a moral obligation to change the status quo, the Minister said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK