The commercial fishing industry is encouraged by the Minister of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ Barbara Creecy to suspend the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) that would have determined long-term rights across 12 commercial fisheries by December 2020. According to SA Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association (Sadstia) chairperson, Terence Brown, the Association is “very encouraged” that the minister has heard the genuine concerns of the fishing industry around Frap 2020 and has acted to review the entire process. “We are committed to working with Creecy and her department to ensure the process for allocating long-term fishing rights is rigorous and transparent and safeguards the sustainability and competitiveness of the fishing industry,” he says. Sadstia says the hake fishing sector that serves local and international markets contributes R6.7bn to the economy each year. The suspension of Frap will enable the department to conduct a comprehensive socio-economic study of the 12 fisheries that will be impacted by the allocation of rights. Creecy’s call for nominations for individuals to serve on the Consultative Advisory Forum, a committee that should play an essential role in the management of fisheries, but which has not been constituted since 2002, is also welcomed.
The recreational deep sea fishing sector has taken note of the suspended Frap and while it has no effect on recreational deep sea angling, Saltwater Conservation Officer of SASACC, Hymie Steyn says it does suggest that the minister will take serious note of the needs and rights of the recreational sector as well.