Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Minister Senzeni Zokwana has granted interim relief fishers access to a portion of 140 tons of West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) offshore allocated to the small-scale fishing sector for the 2018/19 fishing season.
This follows a 43.6% reduction from the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 1 924.08 tons determined for the 2017/18 fishing season.
The department announced last month that TAC of 1 084 tons has been determined for the 2018/19 fishing season, which is a 43.6% reduction when compared to the TAC of 1 924.08 tons determined for the fishing season.
According to the department, interim relief fishers were unhappy about the reduced allocation and appealed to the Minister, citing that the cuts will have devastating socio-economic effects on their communities, with about 2 000 interim relief fishers.
“A request to access a portion of 140.83 tons that is apportioned to the small-scale fishing sector for the 2018/19 season was submitted to DAFF and the Minister for consideration. The Minister has considered the request and has granted approval for the interim relief fishers to access a portion of 140 tons of WCRL offshore allocation apportioned to small-scale fishing sector for the duration of the 2018/19 fishing season,” the department said.
The department said this approval is based on the fact that the delegated authority will not be in a position to allocate small-scale fishing rights in the Western Cape within the WCRL offshore fishing season, as the department is still in the process of registering small-scale fishing co-operatives to be allocated small-scale fishing rights.
“This means that the WCRL offshore allocation apportioned to small-scale fishing sector may not utilised small-scale fishers in the Western Cape for this current season. Secondly, the Minister is fully aware of the socio-economic implications that the TAC cuts will have in the fishing sector broadly and in interim relief communities specifically,” the department said.
Further details on implementing the approval will be conveyed to all interim relief caretakers in preparation for permitting processes to be led by the department. – SAnews.gov.za