Inyanda confirms solidarity with small-scale fishers

Inyanda National Movement has confirmed it’s solidarity with small-scale fishers at the inaugural meeting of the Collective of South Africa, a new formation bringing together several fisher organisations and communities.

At the meeting held on the West Coast last month, Denia Jansen from Inyanda confirmed the movement’s

Denia Jansen from Inyanda National Land Movement addressing small scale fishers

support for local fishers in their struggles, including the several court cases they are facing relating to illegal fishing and impounded vessels.

Denia reminded delegates that their’s was also part of the larger struggle against capitalism, and corporations owning our land, resources, seeds and marine resources.

The Collective will bring together around two dozen local fishers associations in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal. Co-Chair Mr Pedia Garcia says, “The prevalence of different fishing organizations within communities made it difficult for developmental agencies of government, such as, the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA), SAMSA’s National Fishing Forum as well as the NGO sector to optimally implement interventions.”

“The overall objective will naturally be to achieve mutually beneficial objectives for the small scale fisheries sector and near shore fishers in all four coastal provinces,” Garcia added.

The new body is structured as a league of organizations, in order to ensure the independence of member organizations. “The Collective approach is to strengthen local member organizations, as opposed to replacing them with one big body,” says Garcia.

The Collective has already lobbied the Department of Fisheries intensively to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable fishers in congruence with the provisions of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy. Moreover, The Collective has called on the Department to constitute the Consultative Advisory Forum and the Fisheries Transformation Council as required by the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998. As consequence of their efforts, amongst others, the Minister recently constituted the FTC to guide him in decision-making.

Because of the numerous local fisheries associations around the country, many small-scale fishers were excluded from policy-making processes. The problem was there were so many organizations with divergent views claiming to represent the same beneficiaries, in a highly contested and lucrative industry.

“The Collective creates a paradigm shift. Now vulnerable fishers can be represented within industry associations, for example, the West Coast Rock Lobster Association, and within parastatals such as SAMSA’s National Fishing Forum and SETAs as well as within co-management structures of development agencies and most importantly formally recognized in terms of Section 8 of the MLRA,” says Garcia.

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