Langebaan fishers take Govt to court

2013-11-22 22:27

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Johannesburg - Net fishers in Langebaan in the Western Cape intend taking two government departments and two national parks agencies to court, an NGO said on Friday.

"They want these government departments and agencies to set aside certain conditions set upon them that restrict them to only catch fish in Zone A of the Langebaan Lagoon," Masifundise Development Trust director Naseegh Jaffer said in a statement.

Masifundise Development Trust works with Coastal Links South Africa (an organisation the net fishers are a part of) and the legal resources centre representing the fishers.

The fishers also wanted to be allowed to catch fish in Zone B, where there was a larger stock of harders (a type of fish). The fishers said they did not target protected fish found in Zone B.

Jaffer said the Langebaan Lagoon was a marine protected area (MPA) divided into zones A, B, and C.

This was done by the fisheries and environmental affairs departments, as well as the SA National Parks and the West Coast National Park with the aim of protecting marine life.

No one was allowed to catch fish in Zone C as it was reserved for breeding and replenishment of fish stocks.

"Traditional fishers have waged a protracted struggle to have their rights to fish in Zone B restored, because at the moment they compete with recreational fishers, kite flyers, scuba divers and the general holidaymaker in Zone A," Jaffer said.

"Three white fishers from Churchaven, on the other hand, due to an agreement they signed with the parks board in the early 1990s, are the only ones allowed to fish in Zone B.

"Small-scale fishers in Langebaan regard this as blatant racial discrimination which has no place in a democratic South Africa," he said.

The matter would be heard in January as some parties had not submitted their documents to the Western Cape High Court.

The date was yet to be confirmed.

Read more on:    sanparks  |  cape town  |  environment

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