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The National Freshwater (inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy is likely to be finalised and approved by March 2023

This is according to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) which informed small-scale fishing communities of Jozini, Gariep and Vanderkloof, of this news last week. DFFE says they are currently developing an implementation plan.

Masifundise Development Trust has reservations about the announcement because of the timelines presented. They say that while the announcement is welcome news, “inland fishers cannot fish at the dam and put food on the table.

“They are also subjected to harassment and criminalization for wanting to perform livelihood activities because their rights aren’t recognised.” This has been voiced many times and there is also growing concern that revenue-generating recreational fishing is taking preference over traditional fishers’ access to dams. Where to Draw the Line Between Recreational and Subsistence Inland Fisheries


Cabinet approved the Policy in August 2021, and it was gazetted in February 2022. This formally recognises inland small-scale fishing as a livelihood activity, source of food security, and contributor to the economy. Freshwater Inland Fisheries Policy Approved for Implementation

It also recognises the potential of the sector to be further developed to enhance the socio-economic benefits that can be derived from it.

Women’s rights

In the last week of October Masifundise virtually premiered its second inland fisheries report and documentary. The report and video details the challenges women in small-scale inland fishing communities face as a result of the lack of recognition for their livelihood activities.

It also highlights the shortcomings of existing governance frameworks supporting these livelihoods.

According to Masifundise Research Officer, Yvette Le Fleur, “although the inland fishing policy builds on some of the key principles of international Small-scale Fishing Guidelines and the national Small-scale Fisheries Policy, principles of gender equality and equity are largely absent from it.”

*Acknowledgement: Newsletter dated 14 November 2922.

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