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A contradiction between the NDP and the DAFF small scale fisheries policy

The recently released National Development Plan appears to dismiss the potential of small scale fisheries and imply that it is small scale fishers who are responsible for over fishing. 
... the trend in awarding fishing licences has been to favour allocating many rights of small value, rather than fewer rights of substantial value. This increases the number of participants, but also decreases the average gain per participant and increases the difficulty of enforcement. Since most fishing resources are harvested to their limit or over-exploited, increasing the allowable catch of most resources is not viable.
It is fundamental that fishing rights are economically viable and not allocated in a way that threatens compliance. If sustainability is not maintained, the entire fishing industry will collapse and everyone will be affected.
Small-scale fisheries cannot be regarded as a way to boost employment. Capital-intensive industrial fisheries offer better salaries and better conditions of employment than small-scale low-capital fisheries. Reducing the rights allocated to industrial fisheries to award them small-scale operations simply cuts jobs.
(National Planning Commission, 2012: 229)

In contrast recent research shows that about 17% of jobs have been lost in the industrial sector since implementation of long-term rights. At the same time Hara (2012) has highlighted how there is increased casualisation of labour throughout the industry where: 
  • workers are employed for the duration of a fishing trip;
  • they are charged a share of the boat operating expenses;
  • their pay is based on the number of fish that they catch;
  • they work under harsh conditions which frequently contravene labour practices set out in labour law.   
The approach taken by the NDP is out of step with DAFF small scale fisheries policy which aims 'to provide redress and recognition to the rights of small scale fisher communities' and which states that small scale fisheries may provide substantial job creation and livelihood opportunities if better integrated into the value chain.

The policy approach taken by government towards small scale fisheries will have an important bearing on the role and functions of a fisheries extension service and the need to separate enforcement functions from those of advice and support.


Click the image for a view of: Small scale fishing caught in contradictory policies
Small scale fishing caught in contradictory policies
Posted: 9/11/2012 (5:10:08 AM)


 "The NDP raises some valid issues.... and without saying it directly, questions DAFFs capacity to regulate. But its also important to distinguish between small-scale commercial (as a small version of large commercial) where employment levels and condi" Posted: 12/6/2012 9:49:27 AM

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