Over 50 representatives from Small-Scale Fishing Communities (SSFC) protested outside parliament on Wednesday, calling on government to scrap strict permit requirements.
The protesters want government to abolish a 10-year experience requirement needed to get a commercial fishing permit, among other grievances.
Community representatives from areas such as Atlantis, Vrygrond, Lavender Hill, Philippi, Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Langa, Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu stood outside parliament with posters reading: “We need fish” and “We demand our fishing rights”.
They also came with empty baskets and buckets, to emphasise their need for fish, and an income, for the coming fishing season.
The representatives handed over their list of grievances to the Director-General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mike Mlengana, who told the crowd that government would work with small-scale fishers.
“We will deal with this. If we are in agreement and you can work with me, then we can change your lives. We will address the 10-year rule,” Mlengana said.
Western Cape chairperson of the SSFC, Yonga Booi, says they are happy with Mlengana’s response.
“The response of the Director-General who promises to deal with the 10-year experience is a major requirement to be abolished,” he says. “He promised to work around the issues of communal fishing baskets… because we will be working to avoid a black Christmas this season for us.”