Small-scale fishing quotas regulated

2013-11-07 19:52


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Cape Town - Draft legislation allowing catch allocations to small-scale fishing communities could be completed by February next year, Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Thursday.

Briefing the media ahead of debate in the National Assembly on the Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill, she said the measure aimed to give effect to government's small-scale fisheries policy, passed by Cabinet in 2010.

The policy seeks to provide a mechanism for allocating fishing rights to small-scale fishing communities, which were excluded from the long-term rights allocation process.

Joemat-Pettersson said the draft legislation, once enacted, would allow small-scale fishers access - through co-operatives - to markets, financial support, processing facilities, and other support measures.

"We envisage that in the medium-term, nearly a couple of millions will be generated by small-scale fishers, profits that will cascade to coastal communities," she said.

Senior fisheries official Desmond Stevens said the bill's passage would mark "the first time... that there will be direct [catch] allocations to co-operatives".

On who qualified as a small-scale fishing community, he said Stellenbosch University was conducting an independent process to verify the small-scale fisheries.

"We will soon enter into an agreement [with the university] to ensure that the current 43 fishing communities - which we see will grow to 160, which will be declared - we will identify independently who... will qualify."

Joemat-Pettersson warned that co-operatives would not be allowed to sell the rights or quotas allocated to them.

"The regulations that will be published will enable the state to receive those quotas [back] once a community wants to dispose [of them]. The quota will revert back to the state," she said.

Stevens said this regulation would prevent so-called fronting.

Responding to a question, Joemat-Pettersson acknowledged the bill would have to go to the National Council of Provinces, where it would be prioritised once passed by the National Assembly.

"The optimistic estimate is that by next year February we would have concluded," she said.

Read more on:    tina joemat-pettersson  |  cape town  |  environment  |  marine life

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