Small-scale fishing rights for 10 500 fishers

Fishing cooperates should get rights by the end of the year, and Industry hopes Aquaculture Bill will simplify its permitting process

Before the end of this year, over 10 500 fishermen and women organised in 110 co-operatives nationwide would have been awarded 15-year small-scale fishing rights.

This was declared by Barbara Creecy, the minister of forestry, fisheries and the environment during a virtual parliamentary sitting. She delivered the department’s reprioritised budget policy statement last week for the 2020-2-21 financial year and said the fishing rights allocation process (FRAP) will soon be completed. During the process, commercial fishing rights are granted to fishers.

Barbara Creecy, the minister of forestry, fisheries and the environment. Picture: Supplied

Creecy said in her statement: “The rights allocation process is the first stop to formalising and developing small-scale fishers who even before the covid-19 pandemic, faced enormous inequality, insecurity and barriers to economic participation.”

In June this year the revised period for the commencement of the 2020-2021 FRAP process for the granting of commercial fishing rights was published and opened for comment. Time frames for dealing with the allocation of rights in commercial fishing sectors has been revised and timelines were accordingly extended to 31 December 2021.

Delivering her statement, minister Creecy said her department was allocated R8.2 billion for the 2020-2021 financial year to help in the implementation of our environmental programmes and post-lockdown economic recovery initiatives and programmes.

“The monies allocated for the present financial year will be utilised to create a ‘nature-positive future’ for the country,” Creecy pronounced during the sitting.

Aquaculture bill consultation process

She also brought up the aquaculture sector and said it was of crucial importance at this point in time to stabilise the sector that sustains 4 875 jobs. She pledged that consultations on the Aquaculture Bill are in the process of being finalised.

David Fincham, director David Fincham Aquaculture based in Roodepoort in Gauteng, confirms that discussions on the bill are in progress.

He says, “The department is consulting with the Aquaculture Association of South Africa as well as all the sub-sectors. The main speaking point is the issue of permits, and what we have asked for is basically a one-stop shop and a much simpler process for permitting.”

As the country moved to a “nature-positive future”, the department has called for public comment on three more renewable energy development zones (REDZ), namely Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, Klerksdorp in North West and Beaufort West in the Western Cape.

REDZ’s refer to geographical areas where wind and solar energy development can occur in concentrated zones, which will lead to:

  • a reduction of negative environmental consequences;
  • alignment of authorisation and approval processes;
  • attractive incentives; and
  • focused expansion of the South African electricity grid.

This will bring the total number of REDZ in the country to 11. The minister expects that the declaration of these zones will fast-track the development of renewable energy projects.

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