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Last modified: 20 Nov 2015
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Minister to host World Fisheries Day Imbizo

19 November 2015

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Senzeni Zokwana, will use the World Fisheries Day to engage the local fishing industry on existing opportunities to fight poverty and create jobs.

The Minister, who will be joined by the Eastern Cape Rural Reform and Agrarian Development MEC, Mr Mlibo Qoboshiyane and local government leaders, will make an announcement on the Fishing Rights Allocations Process (FRAP 2015/16) and the Small-Scale Fishing Policy.

The Minister will also officially launch a new fishing app called Abalobi Mobile App, which was developed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the University of Cape Town, designed to cover all aspects of small-scale fisheries governance from "hook to cook.’’ (More information on the app can be found on abalobi.info.)

It has been estimated that the majority of the millions of fishers and fish farmers in the world are small-scale fishers and they collectively harvest half of the world’s fish caught for human consumption, income and livelihoods. It has also been estimated that 135 million are directly or indirectly employed in small-scale fisheries and small-scale aquaculture and that an estimated 10 million Africans rely on small-scale fisheries as their primary livelihood and a further 90 million (farmers and resource poor) depend on fishing as part of a diversified livelihood strategy.

All along the South African coastline, men, women and children have been living in coastal communities harvesting marine resource for consumption, livelihoods medicinal purposes, and as part of cultural and spiritual practices for thousands of years. But due to the past laws and systems, many small-scale fishers in fishing communities have been severely marginalised.

For the first time in South Africa, small-scale fishers will be recognised and this will contribute to much needed transformation in the fishing industry.

The department has changed the law to provide for a legal framework to recognise small-scale fishers throughout the four coastal provinces. The department is finalising small-scale fisheries regulations that will prescribe how fishing rights will be allocated to small-scale fishers in a form of basket-of-species.

The department, in partnership with this province, will provide much needed support programmes to this province’s small-scale fishers. These will include assistance to small-scale fishers to form cooperatives and assisting these cooperatives to apply for guaranteed small-scale fishing rights.

As part of Operation Phakisa, the department is looking at developing small harbours and launching sites that will mainly serve small-scale fishers’ operations. Therefore, the department aims to make a significant dent to poverty within the small-scale fishing communities and villages and to improve the local economies of fishing communities and villages through improved value chain and linking fishing to other sectors like tourism.

World Fisheries Day is celebrated every year on 21 November by fishing communities to highlight the importance of maintaining the world's fisheries. According to a recent United Nations’ report, fishing is central to the livelihood and food security of over 200 million people, especially in the developing world, while one out of five people on this planet depends on fish as the primary source of protein.

Aquaculture is growing more rapidly than all other animal food producing sectors – and recent figures from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that around 80 million tons of fish and seafood are caught globally each year. However, further statistics reveal that the main global marine fish stocks are in a state of crisis, increasingly pressured by overfishing and environmental degradation.

Details of the event are as follows:

Date: Saturday 21 November 2015

Time:10:00 – 15:00

Place: Humansdorp Country Sport Club