Rock lobster permit exemption suspended
Johannesburg - The permit exemption granted to over 1 000 West Coast rock lobster fishermen will be suspended from Friday, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said.
"Those that had an exemption from the normal permit process under the interim relief dispensation, they can no longer fish for rock lobster," said department spokesperson Lionel Adendorf.
He said interim relief was agreed on in 2007, following an Equality Court settlement between the department and small-scale fishers.
According to the settlement, the department agreed to grant small-scale fishers access to marine resources until the Small-scale Fishers Policy, currently in its final phases, was implemented.
He said about 1 340 exemptions had been granted to bona fide fishermen as a result of the agreement.
This allowed each fisher a share of the total allowable catch (TAC) determined for interim relief in the West Coast rock lobster sector.
This TAC has been set at 251 tons - 167kg per exemption holder.
"This suspension, however, does not apply to other species such as traditional line fish, white mussel and red bait as listed in the exemption," said Adendorf.
The fishermen are now required to apply through normal processes for a permit.