The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, announced that she has granted small-scale fishers across the Western Cape access to fishing during the 2019/20 West Coast rock lobster season. This forms part of a new transition in the small-scale fishing sector.

“There was a general call for interim relief fishers to continue fishing for the next season and for fishers on┬áthe declared small-scale fishers list to be granted access to fish,” said Creecy. “It is imperative for small-scale fishers to be granted access to fishing while they are waiting on their 15-year fishing rights to be allocated.”

“These 2,749 fishers were declared for the first time in 2018 as small-scale fishers as part of the roll-out of small-scale fishing sector in the Western Cape,” said Creecy.

According to Creecy, the current interim relief would continue to take into account that some interim relief fishers have already signed work contracts during the 2019/20 fishing season. The minister also added that interim relief fishers, along with small-scale fishers, would share the rock lobster allocated during the coming season.

“All fishers will be required to sign a letter of authorisation drafted by the department on the amended interim relief list for 2019/2020 fishing season. Interim relief fishers are to nominate an individual who will execute specific and spelled-out tasks on behalf of Interim Relief (IR) fishers,” Creecy said. “On signing, each fisher is given an opportunity to indicate which marketer they have signed with. This will also allow fishers who have not signed a contract to choose who they want to market their products without being influenced on the choice of marketer.”

Picture: Pixabay

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