Fishers march into government offices

Call for crayfish quotas to be allocated to nearshore fishers and not large commercial fisheries

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Photo of people shouting
Protesters converged at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Friday, demanding increased quotas. Photo: Yann Macherez

Hundreds of people from across the Western Cape gathered on Friday at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) to protest the current fishing quotas.

Naseegh Jaffer, director of the Masifundise Development Trust, which has focused on local fishing communities since 2004, presented a memorandum that was accepted by Justice Matshili of DAFF.

The memorandum calls for all rock lobster quotas to be allocated to nearshore fishers and not to the big offshore commercial fisheries. It also calls for a small portion of the quota amount to be reserved for conservation. It also calls for banning the trap system and only allowing the use of ring nets, which it says has less environmental impact. Finally, it calls for local and traditional knowledge of fishing communities to be included in fishery management decisions. It was signed by Coastal Links Western Cape, Masifundise Development Trust and South African United Fishing Front. 

Friday’s protest follows weeks of tensions in fishing communities such as Hangberg and Hawston, after it was proposed that the total allowable catch for the season needed to be dropped.

DAFF official Justice Matshili addresses the angry crowd, apologising that the Deputy Director General of DAFF was not there to accept the memo. Video: Yann Macherez

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TOPICS:  Fishing Government Hangberg

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