SADSTIA was welcomed the decision to postpone the allocation of long-term rights, subject to a comprehensive socio-economic study. Image: SADSTIA

The South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) has welcomed the publication of a Government Gazette which effectively suspends the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) that would have culminated in the allocation of long-term rights across 12 commercial fisheries by December 2020.

The Government Gazette was published earlier this month by Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

‘SADSTIA is very encouraged that Minister Barbara Creecy has heard the genuine concerns of the fishing industry around FRAP 2020 and has acted to review the entire process,’ said the association’s chairman Terence Brown.

‘We are committed to working with Minister Creecy and her department to ensure that the process for allocating long-term fishing rights is rigorous and transparent and safeguards the sustainability and competitiveness the fishing industry.’

SADSTIA represents the 33 rights holders in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery which is by far South Africa’s most valuable fishery, delivering R6.7 billion to the economy each year and sustaining approximately 7300 good jobs with regular wages and employee benefits.

The Association believes that a delayed FRAP will allow the Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries to conduct a comprehensive socio-economic study of the 12 fisheries that will be affected by the allocation of rights. According to SADSTIA, such a study will clarify the impact that allocations policy will have on investment in these fisheries, the jobs they create and sustain, and their global competitiveness. It will also allow the Department to quantify the significant transformation that has taken place in the fishing industry since 2005, when long-term rights were last allocated.

SADSTIA has also welcomed the call by Minister Creecy for nominations for individuals to serve on the Consultative Advisory Forum (CAF), a committee that should play an essential role in the management of fisheries in South Africa, but which has not been constituted since 2002.

According to the Marine Living Resources Act (1998), the membership of the CAF should be broadly representative and multidisciplinary and it should advise the Minister on, inter alia, the management and development of the fishing industry, fisheries legislation, fisheries research and the allocation of money from the Marine Living Resources Fund.

The Minister has called for nominations to the CAF to be made by 30th August 2019.