Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Minister Senzeni Zokwana says he is aware of the challenges that the current determined Total Allowable Catch and Effort (TAC/E) cuts will have on the industry, specifically the fishing communities.
This follows the department's announcement of the TAC/E for the West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) sector for the 2018/19 fishing season, which saw a reduction of the TAC/E from the previous years.
During the 2017/18 fishing season, the TAC/E was determined at 1. 924.08 tons, however, this was challenged by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in the Western Cape High Court, on the grounds that it is unsustainable and the determination did not follow scientific advice.
The High Court delivered a judgment on 26 September 2018, and declared the determination of the total allowable catch for WCRL for the 2017/18 fishing season to be inconsistent with the Constitution as read with Section 2 of the National Environmental Management Act, Act No. 107 of 1998 and Section 2 of the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA), and thus invalid.
"For the 2018/19 fishing season, the TAC/E of 1.084 tons has been determined following consultations and recommendations by the scientific working group, which is a 43.6% reduction when compared to the TAC/E of 1. 924.08 tons determined for the 2017/18 fishing season.
"The 2018/19 TAC/E is in line with the Court Judgement of September 2018, [and] unfortunately, the department's hand has been forced to neglect other management objectives of the fisheries sector, which centres around addressing socio-economic challenges of the fishing communities, without undermining sustainability aspects of the resources, which is at the centre of the broad government's agenda, and the department's implementation of ecosystem approach to fisheries management," Zokwana explained.
The Minister added that the WCRL resource is managed on the basis of a developed Operation Management Procedure (OPM), which is an agreed set of rules between scientists, managers, right holders and various stakeholders on recovery targets intended to rebuild the stock.
"It is important to understand and distinguish the roles that are played by these parties within their various respective working groups.
"The current reduced TAC/E of 1.084 tons and various effort limitations sets the resource on the recovery target path of 7% by 2025 in relation to the 2006 baseline biomass," the Minister said.
Transformed economic sectors
He said the department is working tirelessly to drive transformed economic sectors process in a manner that is not disruptive to the competitiveness of the sector, but also ensuring that this transformation is as inclusive as possible.
This, he said, is demonstrated by the recognition of previously marginalised small-scale fishers in South Africa through the amendment of the MLRA in 2014, where government commenced with a small-scale fisheries program whose aim is to establish a new small-scale fishery throughout the coastal communities of South Africa.
This initiative, according to the Minister, has seen over 10 000 individual traditional fishers being recognised as small-scale fishers for the first time in South Africa's history.
"This, in essence, means that over 200 communities in the four coastal provinces will access marine resources legally for the purpose of participating in the ocean's economy and for food security."
During 2018, government has allocated the first 15-year fishing rights to Port Nolloth and Honderklipbaai in the Northern Cape Province, where a total of 103 individually recognised small-scale fishers have been assisted to register two co-operatives for the purpose of receiving economically sustainable 15-year fishing rights.
Over 70 co-operatives to be allocated 15-year fishing rights.
Meanwhile, Zokwana announced that for 2019, government is in the process of finalising the allocation of 15-year fishing rights to 75 registered co-operatives, comprising 5.335 small-scale fishers in Eastern Cape; 45 registered co-operatives comprised of 2.184 small-scale fishers in KwaZulu-Natal, and co-operatives comprise of over 2.500 small-scale fishers in Western Cape.
Zokwana explained that through this program, over 10 000 fishers and their families are being empowered and will be in a position to sustain their livelihoods and further contribute the country's economy.
"It should be our responsibility as the public sector and the private sector to support initiatives of this nature as they stimulate cohesion and the local economy in fishing communities and beyond. This is taking into account that the WCRL is one of the mainstay species of the small-scale sector.
"The 2020 Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP), which was started earlier in 2018, is already trying to address some of the transformation challenges that are facing the commercial fisheries sector in the country.
"In 2019, government will consult widely on key proposals for allocating fishing rights in 2020, to further promote inclusivity, especially for the marginalised communities," the Minister said.
A section of religious leaders in the Coast region have welcomed government plans to assist local fishermen to venture into the deep sea.
The church leaders argued that the move would boost the economy and address runaway youth unemployment in the region.
The clerics who addressed a press conference in Mombasa on Friday said government support will generate better income from the fishing industry in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
The clerics led by Bishop Josephat Ndumbu of the Soul Harvest Ministries said local communities welcome the blue economy activities aimed at boosting fishing in the high seas.
The clerics under the auspices of Pwani Interfaith Union (PIU) said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement that the government will set up a revolving fund and build cold storage facilities for fishermen will go a long way in lifting living standards for trhe residents.
Bishop Ndambu said the cold storage facilities and fish markets in the coastal villages will enable fishermen keep their catch fresh for long and control prices.
They were reacting to a statement by State House spokesperson, Ms. Kanze Dena who said the government was unveiling programmes to boost fishing in the Indian Ocean following years of neglect.
Ms. Dena had said the state would set up a Coast Guard at Liwatoni in Mombasa to curb illegal fishing in Kenya’s territorial waters even as it facilitated local fishermen to exploit the fish resources.
She said the government is committed to putting in place an appropriate policy and legal framework to support the fisheries sector and the blue economy sector in general.
It is estimated that the country losses about Sh. 10 billion annually due to increased Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the high seas.
They also welcomed the presidential directive to the Ministry of Education to restore the ownership of all church-built schools to religious institutions, saying the move will give them a chance to instill discipline and morals in the institutions of learning.
President Kenyatta had further directed the Ministry to restore church sponsorship of schools which traditionally used to be under their care.
The clerics also welcomed the appointments of ODM leader, Raila Odinga and his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka as special envoys noting that the move will further cement cooperation with government in the spirit of the March 9th handshake between the former prime minister and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila was recently appointed as High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa by the African Union (AU) while Kalonzo is the chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evolution Commission for South Sudan.
“We are happy that the handshake has already brought about unity and peace among communities and with the appointment of the two to key continental positions, we expect this peace to deepen,” said Bishop Emmanuel Kashero Lewa.
Dr. Lewa who is the PIU organizing secretary said clerics were elated following the president’s announcement that the Ministry of Education returns schools to churches and other religious institutions saying it was long overdue.
“This presents an opportunity for religious organizations to teach morals and instill discipline in educational institutions across the country in the face of teenage pregnancies,” he said.
Dr. Lewa urged the Ministry of Education to establish chaplain departments in schools and colleges to handle moral issues and reduce the pregnancies.
Speaking separately in Kwale, Imam Sheikh Rashid Munje said promotion of fishing at the Coast would help raise incomes for residents and hence reduce crime.
“We are excited by the government plans to finally boost the fishing sector at the coast which has potential to raise incomes for many residents,” he said.
The cleric asked Government to consider confirming Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acting Managing Director, Dr. Daniel Manduku saying the performance of the port of Mombasa has improved in his six-month long tenure.
“We are in support of Dr. Manduku’s confirmation as substantive managing director because he has delivered,” said Sheikh Munje said.
South Africa’s fisheries authority is in a state of crisis, caused by two of its most senior officials who have brought the culture of corruption to the department.
This has left the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) unable to complete many of its most simple tasks, including allocating fishing rights and implementing regulations. The departure of a large number of skilled staff, including top scientists, have worsened the problem.
As a consequence, the fisheries sector, an important part of the Western Cape’s economy, is affected by deep disfunction, a state of affairs that largely affects poor people. Government programs intended to develop fishing communities (now hotbeds for abalone and crayfish poaching) have repeatedly stalled.
The corruption at the department (entrenched for many years) has been laid bare by a power struggle between director-general Mike Mlengana and his deputy, Siphokazi Ndudane. Even the minister for the department, Senzeni Zokwana, has become involved in the dispute, siding with Ndudane.
The department has injected tens of millions of rands towards legal fees for both officials, in some cases hiring opposing sets of counsel. In the last two years, the department has also completed at least three forensic reports into corruption, although even these have been tainted by allegations of improper influence.
Seven Kenyan fishermen have been detained at a beach in Tanzania after they were arrested by security officials over claims of illegally crossing the border.
The fishermen from Remba Island in Suba North, Homa Bay County, were arrested on Sunday evening during a fishing expedition in Lake Victoria. Their four boats were also confiscated.
The fishermen, who were together with other colleagues, had 21 boats when they set out for fishing. The security officials later released 17 boats but detained their day's catch.
Homa Bay County Beach Management Units Network Chairman Edward Oremo said the fishermen had captured hundreds of kilogrammes of fish when they were arrested and detained.
He said they were yet to establish details in regard to the arrests.
“Those who were set free said they had not crossed the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania. The security officials took all their fishing gears and fish,” said Mr Oremo.
County Police Commander Mr Marius Tum confirmed the incident.
He said his officers were on Monday investigating the circumstances that led to the arrest of the fishermen.
The incident has once again raised questions on the relationship between the East African countries on boundary issues.
In a recent meeting in Homa Bay County, security and fisheries officials from Kenya and Uganda agreed not to harass fishermen from either country in Lake Victoria as long as they obeyed the fishing laws of the respective countries.
Mr Oremo asked the government to incorporate Tanzania in the deal.
Luanda — The subsector of artisanal fishing continues to be the driving force behind the economic and social progress of communities, contributing to food and nutritional security, creating more jobs and raising household incomes, said last Thursday in Luanda, the Angolan minister of Fisheries and the Sea, Victória de Barros.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop on "Participatory Management of the Centre to support the Artisanal Fishing (CAPAS) and Community Integration", she reported that the Executive is committed to giving greater living quality to communities dependent on artisanal fishing by investing in infrastructure to support the sector and in training in good sanitary practices for the handling of fish, which has already brought about visible results.
With the investments that are being made in the acquisition of new cooling and electric equipment of the centres it will be possible to effect better operation of the said centres.
The project coordinator, Victor Barreto, told ANGOP that the project, valued at USD 38 million - a financing from the African Development Bank (80 percent of the total cost) and Angola (20 percent) - aims to combat poverty and hunger by building fishing infrastructures, training and sustainable environmental management.
At the moment, four centres are being built to support artisanal fishing (CAPAS), equipped with solar and public energy and cooling equipment.
These centres are located in the provinces of Benguela, Cuanza Sul, Bengo and Zaire.
Acting Environmental Affairs Minister Derek Hanekom says a network of 20 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) will considerably advance South Africa's efforts to protect its ocean heritage for future generations.
Cabinet approved the declaration of 20 MPAs on Wednesday as part of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy MPAs Representative Network.
Hanekom welcomed the announcement, saying it will increase ocean protection within the South African Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to 5%.
"The [MPAs] will contribute to fisheries sustainability, advance marine ecotourism and help maintain resilience in ecosystems that are under stress from climate change," Hanekom said.
Work on the new approved network of MPAs dates back to 2014, when the South African government endorsed a plan to achieve, as part of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy, a viable network of MPAs.
Hanekom said South Africa's ocean space, which is one of the most varied in the world, is highly productive, with rich biodiversity providing living and non-living resources that contribute significantly to the country's economy and to job creation.
As South Africa grows and intensifies the ocean economy, the Hanekom said a representative sample of marine ecosystems must be protected to ensure their resilience to human use and impact, and also the impacts associated with climate change.
MPAs provide safe spaces in which fish can breed undisturbed. They are essential to maintain eco-certification of the South African deep-sea trawl fishery. The certification process assesses whether habitat and nursery areas for the hake fishery are adequately protected.
MPAs also contribute to growing South Africa's marine eco-tourism sector by providing undisturbed natural habitat for whales, sharks, seals, dolphins, turtles and seabirds for international and domestic tourists to experience.
An adequate network of MPAs will also provide the basis for ongoing resilience to the impact of climate change. Oceans are an essential component of the climate system, absorbing and transferring heat, and regulating the exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) with the atmosphere.
With increasing CO2 levels and rising ocean temperatures, this regulatory capacity is at risk. The network of MPAs will assist in building ecological resilience, and therefore social and economic resilience in the growing ocean economy.
The new MPA network is the product of extensive consultation and negotiation with all stakeholders, which sought to ensure that the network is aligned with relevant policies and priorities for fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, as well as marine mining and oil exploration, while also protecting ecologically important areas.
South Africa is also mindful of its longer term commitments to the protection of marine biodiversity, including meeting the 2020 Global Target in the Decadal Plan of the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD), which stands at 10%.
"The efforts to increase the protection of marine ecosystems is within this global and national context. MPAs are important in maintaining ecosystem functioning and structure, as well as protecting biological diversity. The approved 20 new MPAs are a significant step towards meeting the global 2020 target." the Minister said.