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Press Release 
Sylvester Mpandeli 
World Fisheries Day – Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Water Research Commission (WRC) congratulates the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Senzeni Zokwana for launching the newly-developed fishing App, Abalobi during the celebration of the World Fisheries Day on Saturday, 21 November 2015 in Eastern Cape.  More specifically, the WRC congratulates Minister Zokwana for successfully creating awareness to rural communities and the local fishing industry on existing opportunities to fight poverty and create jobs through fishing.

World fisheries Day is celebrated throughout the world annually by the fishing community.  It is for this reason the commemoration reminds the WRC of the investment made so far in studies investigating South Africa’s inland fishery resource endowment which has been overlooked for quite some time as a means of supporting sustainable livelihoods post 1994.

According to the WRC recent study, fishing has been viewed as lacking a guiding policy and legislation aligned with the country’s rights- based Constitution. The absence of an equitable inland fishing governance framework with defined use rights has resulted in growing unmanaged and unsustainable fishing practices, conflicts between resource users, and the perpetuation of past exclusion of rural communities from livelihood and economic opportunities linked to aquatic natural resources. In response to this problem, the WRC launched a directed research project entitled “Baseline And Scoping Study On The Development And Sustainable Utilisation Of Storage Dams For Inland Fisheries And Their Contribution To Rural Livelihoods” to provide a knowledge base to inform the development of policy and institutional arrangements for inland fishery governance.

If South Africa intends to establish an industry based on inland fisheries, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) will need to draw up a clear policy to manage and regulate the country’s resources. At the moment, such policies do not exist. However, a report published by the Water Research Commission (WRC) on the sustainable use of inland fisheries in South Africa will provide guidelines which will assist the DAFF in establishing appropriate policies.

This is according to Dr Gerhard Backeberg, Executive Manager of Water Utilisation in Agriculture at the WRC. In January 2015 the WRC completed a four-year scoping study on the sustainable use of inland fisheries in South Africa. The report finds there are three sustainable uses for inland fisheries in the country - recreational fishing, subsistence fishing and commercial fishing.

As the three activities compete for resources, this could lead to conflict if property rights are not explicitly recognised and enforced. “If the rules of the game are not clear, it could lead to conflict, and this needs to be clarified,” says Dr Backeberg. Read More

Contact: Dr Sylvester Mpandeli; WRC Research Manager for Water Utilisation in Agriculture

Email: sylvesterm@wrc.org.za






Pictures: University of Venda Zoology students fishing from the Nandoni Dam
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