Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment on the splitting of squid resource

17 Jun 2021

Squid resource split between small-scale fishing and local commercial sectors

In a historic step forward for transformation of the small-scale fishing sector, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has allocated fifteen percent of the Squid catch to the Small-scale Fisheries sector.  Prior to this decision, the squid was not in the basket of species available to the 15 co-operatives and 600 individual small scale fishermen and women who operate in the areas of the Eastern Cape where squid is harvested.

This apportionment will be reviewed at the beginning of every fishing season with the view of increasing the portion available to the Small-scale Fisheries sector to twenty-five percent of the total allowable effort in this fishery.

The review will be subject to the annual status of squid resource, fishing patterns and fishing practices of new and existing right holders and the needs of coastal communities which are dependent mainly on fishing.

“Across the world, small scale fishermen and women play an important role in promoting household food security and providing livelihoods in areas where there are little other means of support,” said Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Minister, Ms Barbara Creecy.  “In March 2020 the Department allocated fifteen-year rights to fishing co-operatives across the Eastern Cape. The success of these co-operatives depends amongst other issues, on having a commercially viable basket of species.” Said Minister Creecy.

The limited basket of species has been raised repeatedly by small scale fishing co-operatives across the country. Accordingly, in October 2020, Minister Creecy invited interested and affected stakeholders to comment on the proposed resource split between local commercial and small-scale fishing in the Traditional Line fish, Squid and Abalone fishing sectors.

Having considered all the representations for the proposed squid apportionment split between local commercial and small-scale fishing, the Director-General, as the delegated authority in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998, has decided in terms of section 14(2), to apportion fifteen percent (15%) of the Squid Total Allowable Effort to the Small-scale Fisheries sector and 85% of the Squid Total Allowable Effort to the commercial squid sector.  As already explained this apportionment will be reviewed annually with the intention of increasing it to twenty-five percent over the next few years.

Small Scale Fishers in the Eastern Cape have welcomed the announcement and believe that it will enable them to feed their families and look after their communities. Chief Dion Spandel, Chairman of the Eastern Cape Khoisan Small Scale Fishers, applauded the department regarding the decision. “I know that it was not an easy decision for her (Minister Creecy), but it had to be taken. With the 15% that the department has put in our baskets, we can now go to sea and look at buying our own boats, sending our guys to some kind of training. It is really appreciated it,” said Chief Spandel. Andriaan.

The apportionment will take effect from the start of the upcoming squid season. In the coming weeks, the department will be engaging with the commercial and small-scale fishing sectors on how the apportionment will be implemented taking into account compliance with the relevant sector policies and the conditions of fishing in those respective sectors.

The squid sector is lucrative and to ensure optimal management and sustainability, the department will be introducing a Capacity Management Regime in the commercial and small-scale squid sector to better manage fishing effort in the sector in future.

The Record of Decision on the split is available on the link here


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WWF and DEFF work together to aid local fishing community

For this year’s Mandela Day, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries together with WWF South Africa addressed the concerns of local fishers in Kleinmond. On July 18, the minister, Barbara Creecy, met with some members of Kogelberg’s fishing community in a safe place that allowed for social distancing. 

“The small-scale fishers along the coast of our country have been hit hard by the economic and social effects of Covid-19. This group was affected long before other communities felt the impact of the pandemic. From as early as February this year, fishing communities were unable to sell their catch in many Asian markets,” the minister said. 

For the last eight years, WWF South Africa has continued to support families that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. These families rely on the ocean’s natural resources for their livelihoods. Working together with their partners, WWF South Africa to put together food vouchers and care parcels that were distributed to more than 90 members of the Kogelberg fishing communities and their families. 

WWF South Africa CEO, Morné du Plessis, acknowledged the hard times this community had been experiencing and their willingness to work with WWF and said that the Mandela Day activity was one small way in which WWF was able to show care and support.

“WWF has a deep and longstanding relationship with the small-scale fishers of the Kogelberg whom we know to face many day-to-day challenges, but who have also shown enormous willingness to work with us to protect the rich marine life on their doorstep,” du Plessis said.

The biggest challenge that these local fishers face is the dwindling resources that they have relied upon. Without any effective management, these resources will continue on a downward spiral. 

In order to address these issues, WWF South Africa has worked with communities from the Kogelberg in the Western Cape and Hamburg in the Eastern Cape. In 2019, the organisation managed to secure funding assistance from the Government of Flanders and BMZ. This has continued the work that had began in 2012. 

WWF South Africa was grateful to the organisations and individuals who came together to support the struggling community. 

“We would like to extend thanks to them: DEFF, Coca-Cola, Gift of the Givers and Spar, as well as the project funders of WWF’s work in the Kogelberg small-scale fishing community – BMZ and the Government of Flanders – and a few of our very own WWF Pandas who supported this initiative with donations and time,” the organisation said.

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