Fishing community given a lifeline

The Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust has welcomed a decision by the Western Cape High Court not to make final an interim interdict preventing the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) from awarding permits in the inshore trawl fishing sector.

The interim interdict had been brought by Viking Inshore Fishing against the department in an effort to prevent it from issuing permits that would allow it to implement its 2016 rights allocation decision.

The fishing company argued that the decision would greatly reduce its quota for hake and sole, thereby resulting in extensive job losses at its Mossel Bay processing plant. The interim interdict was granted in January this year, but the Western Cape High Court ruled not to make it final on Wednesday July 5.

Ikram “Lamie” Halim, of the Hout Bay Fishers Community Trust, said the decision would hopefully set a precedent for small-scale fishers in Hout Bay, who had complained that large fishing companies were making millions of rand while fishers were not being allocated rights to sustain their livelihoods.

“This decision is definitely in favour of small-scale fishers. At last it is showing that DAFF is willing to stand up to the big fishing companies. Of course we are sad that people might lose their jobs at the Viking factory, but if you look at the bigger picture it is a victory for fishers.”