Pretoria: The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) says it’s working around the clock to resolve the technical challenges in vetting the small-scale fishing regulations.
The purpose of the regulations is to ensure equitable access to fish by small-scale fishing communities, transform the inequalities of the past fisheries system and address the high levels of abject poverty, socio-economic development and food insecurity in the small-scale fishing communities.
The department acknowledged that window dressing was huge in the fishing industry, which is why fishermen in the primary co-operatives were being registered as 100% owners. Meanwhile, they would have a seat in the secondary co-operatives, which processed the catches.
The department on Monday said it was working closely with the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (OCSLA) to urgently resolve the technical legal issues in order to have the regulations vetted to lift obstacles for fishing communities.
“The department acknowledges that it has not met the timeframes as communicated in the Roll-Out Plan. The Roll-Out Plan will therefore require adjustment but this adjustment will only be communicated once the department has resolved the vetting issues with OCSLA,” the department said.
The regulations empower the Minister to identify, verify, register and recognise both small-scale fishers and small-scale fishing communities. The verification of individual fishers will be done in consultation with the fishing community.
The vetting and the approval of the small-scale fishing regulations is necessary in providing the legal framework for prescribing the process for allocating small-scale fishing rights and the overall management of this new fishing sector.
However, due to the sensitive nature of the process, the department said it had reached some technical challenges in vetting the small-scale fishing regulations.
The department says it is continuing with consulting communities as it progresses to the final stretch of implementing the fisheries policy.
In the meantime, communities that have as yet not registered an expression of interest with the department are reminded that the expression of interest process is still open for fishing communities that would like to be considered as part of the implementation process.
The expression of interest form can be downloaded from (http://www.daff.gov.za/daffweb3/Branches/Fisheries-Management/Small-Scale-Fishing).
Stakeholders are also encouraged to consult department’s website: www.daff.gov.za and Facebook (Small-Scale Fisheries) page to keep updated with the most recent small-scale fisheries information and developments.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS