30 October 2017

South Africa: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries On Fishing Sector

press release

DAFF is determined to put communities at the centre of decision making in the management of all Fishing Sectors including west coast rock lobster

The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries would like to reassure the South African communities particularly those whose livelihood mainly depends on the fishing sector that they will always be at the centre of its decision making processes.

DAFF is acutely aware of the limited quantum of fisheries resources and the continuous increasing need to access and exploit such resources in order to address pressing socio-economic challenges.

DAFF had always been confronted with a thoughtful balancing task to consider the demands of the immediate pressing socio-economic needs yet also to ensure sustainable utilisation of the resources which outcomes may not equally satisfy everyone.

The reality is that world wild stocks are declining and finite and thus have an impact on sustainability and exploitation of such resources. Illegal fisheries practices compound this challenge.

The DAFF's Fisheries Compliance and Enforcement systems which form an integral part of fisheries management have been strengthened which include the use of technology that would improve traceability of the West Coast Rock Lobster and other species. One of the major causes of illegal fishing is proliferation of illegal buyers. The Department therefore discourages anyone from buying illegally caught marine resources as the DAFF will endeavour and ensure that illegal buyers are criminally charged and prosecuted.

The DAFF's engagement with various stake holders including the representatives of the fishing industry and academia has emphasised the need to improve management of the West Coast Rock Lobster including developing and strengthening a Management Plan for West Coast Rock Lobster to cover both longer-term strategic goals as well as the day-to-day tactical management aspects.

The DAFF remains committed to ensure equitable beneficiation of the fisheries resources to include the historically disadvantaged communities. As a result DAFF is in the process of establishing a Fisheries Transformation Council in terms of Section 29 of the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 and a Consultative Advisory Forum in terms of Section 5 of the same Act.

Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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