PRETORIA, South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has welcomed the court ruling in a case involving the allocation of fishing rights in Western Cape province.
The Western Cape High Court has handed down judgment in favour of the [department] in the matter involving Viking Inshore Fishing (Pty) Ltd. The ongoing challenge to the decision made by the DAFF, in particular the Deputy Director-General for Fisheries, to include previously disadvantaged new entrants during its 2015/16 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) has been brought to an end, as the application to interdict such decision was dismissed with costs, the department said in a statement here Thursday.
The interdict, which previously prevented existing and new entrants from participating in the sector, has now been lifted. The court held that the DAFF had explained fully the entire allocation process and gave reasonable explanations of its attempt to give effect to section 2(j) of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) as well as the Constitution.
The order made by the court has vindicated the department’s attempts to ensure that new entrants in the Hake Inshore Trawl sector are able to utilise the fishing rights granted to them in terms of section 18 of the MLRA, the department said.
The court further ruled that the decision made by the DAFF cannot be said to be irrational, inexplicable or unreasonable.
This is a victory for both the department and small fishing companies which have been prevented from operating in the sector for the past six months, the department said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK