Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana, was quoted in the press this week saying that an increase in the southern bluefin tuna allocation in South Africa is essential for job creation, and will provide permanent employment in the sector.
The Commission for Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) has decided to increase the country’s allocation from 150 tons to 423 tons. Minister Sokwana has hailed the decision saying that it would inject much needed export revenue for South Africa.
“It is estimated that the 450 ton increase could be worth R270 million. Depending on the foreign exchange rate, it could create about 1,000 jobs for the unemployed,” said Minister Zokwana.
Small-scale fishers should be able to reap the benefit of the new fishing rights to be allocated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) scheduled for the end of October.
According to the press the fishing industry, which is dominated by the big players, will now also benefit communities living on South Africa’s coastlines.
Minister Zokwana said that the department wanted to bring in more black people living on the coastline by allocating the new fishing rights to them.
According to deputy director-general for Fisheries Siphokazi Ndudane, the department would allocate rights to 10 sectors, which include abalone, lobster, tuna, horse mackerel, hake-in-shore and the Kwazulu-Natal seine fishing.
“It is important because there was a lot of injustice that was done in the past,” said Ndudane.
However, the press has also reported this week that disgruntled small-scale fishers have slated DAFF saying that its verification process is flawed.
According to the Masifundise Development Trust (MDT), most fishers who meet DAFF’s criteria have been excluded from the provisional list.
“The verification process was flawed. DAFF must be sensitive to the plight of small-scale fishers. They did everything required of them, but still they’re excluded. We will definitely appeal,” says MDT director, Naseegh Jaffer.