Outrage at permit increases

2010-02-13 00:00

LOCAL fishermen are outraged at the government’s plans to increase its marine permit fees, saying the huge price hikes will make it difficult to make a decent living.

Recreational fishing permits will increase from R69 to R200, crayfish permits from R75 to R500 and spear fishing from R75 to R300. Recreational fishing boats will have to pay an extra R500 a year. These increases will come into affect from May.

Marine and Coastal Management has given anglers until March 1 to comment on the proposed increases, but they feel nothing will be done to reduce the fees

Angry anglers told the Weekend Witness the increases were “pathetic”, saying it was unfair to those who made a living from fishing.

Bob Moodley, who has been fishing for the past 25 years, said price hikes would make it difficult to make even a small profit.

“We are struggling to make a living and now government wants to make things harder I buy my permit every year because I want to obey the law. I can’t afford the new permit fees,” he said.

Ronald Mathuray, spokesman for KZN Fishing, said the increases would have a major impact on the fishing fraternity. He said illegal fishing could also become rife.

“It’s ridiculous that the fees can be hiked by so much. It’s a very opportunistic move by the government as they know recreational and commercial fishing is big money,” he said.

Mathuray said he will encourage members of KZN Fishing to send their objections to the Department of Marine and Coastal Management.

Armando Costa, CEO of Extreme Sports Association, who have lent their support to the fishing community, said: “The entire angling community must stand together if we hope to make ourselves heard. We are not opposed to an increase in fees, but rather feel that the 500% increases we are to be subjected to are ludicrous, particularly for those anglers and fishermen who rely on the ocean for their livelihood.”

Costa said the increases will affect, everyone, as the price of marine products will rise due to the excessive nature of the proposed hikes.

If you feel strongly about the issue, you can e-mail, fax or send a registered letter of objection to the Department of Marine and Coastal Management. Details are avaialble at revenue@deat.gov.za or 086 613 6256 (fax).

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