Delays to Western Cape small-scale fishing rights cannot happen again

Issued by Dave Bryant MP – DA Shadow Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment
20 Nov 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Dave Bryant MP

The recent announcement of the long awaited awarding of small scale fishing rights in the Western Cape should not be seen as a reason to celebrate. This bungled process has seen small-scale fishers in the Western Cape pushed from pillar to post, while the ANC led government has failed them at every turn.

While the ANC in the Western Cape has attempted to spin the long delayed awarding of rights as some sort of victory, this is far from the reality on the ground. The Western Cape, which has by far the largest available fish stocks in the country, was subject to a catastrophic failed tender process which was then exacerbated by further delays. The Minister even had to take her own department to court in an attempt to fix the issue. This is yet another example of why the centralisation of powers within the ANC-led national government cannot be allowed to continue.

While the ANC attempts to paper over the cracks, the mood on the ground is very different. Many traditional coastal fishing communities feel that they have been left out of the small-scale process and that the allocations do not come close to adequately catering for their needs. It is clear that the ANC does not take members of traditional coastal fishing communities seriously.

The DA believes that our traditional coastal fisherfolk, many of whom have fished for generations, should be empowered to grow their businesses and play a far more active role in running fishing operations. Instead, under the ANC they have been reduced to begging from crumbs from the table. The DA continues to call for the allocation of fishing rights to be devolved to competent local authorities such as the DA-led Western Cape so that steps can be taken to empower and develop our local fishing communities. It is clear that traditional fishing communities have lost faith in this ANC government and will be making their voices heard next year in the 2024 elections.