Members of local fishing communities made headlines as they took to the streets in two separate protests this week. The first of these was staged outside the Western Cape High Court in response to allegations that a community from Buffeljachtsbaai is being forcibly removed by the Overstrand Municipality.
The second took place in Hout Bay, where protestors blocked the entrance to the harbour and called for the renewal of their fishing rights, as well as transformation within the fishing industry.
Protest leader, Emmanuel Arendse was quoted as saying, “We are living in poverty. We want our fishing rights back. Our people need food on their tables. We cannot live like this. Minister (Tina Joemat-Pettersson) must get out of office.”
Are we not all secretly calling for change within the fishing industry? Perhaps the urgency is just felt that much more keenly by communities who rely on the industry for every meal that is or is not on their table.
Also making news this week was the announcement by Oceana that it would be paying out R289 million to the beneficiaries of its empowerment trust. The company added that the cash payout was only a quarter of the value that the empowerment fund had generated and proved that they were worthy recipients of fishing rights.
Oceana chief executive, Francois Kuttel stated: “What we have achieved is far more than what we would have been able to achieve if these rights were given to players with less resources and experience.”
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson has previously stated that empowerment and creating value for fishing communities was an important criteria for assessment during fishing rights allocation.
With their fishing rights up for assessment next year and again in 2020, it would seem that Oceana are aiming to tick all the right boxes.