DA urges Minister Creecy to act faster regarding fishing allocation processes - Dave Bryant

Probable timeline for rollout suggests that conclusion of process likely to be April 2022 at earliest

DA urges Minister Creecy to act faster regarding fishing allocation processes

19 March 2021

The DA calls on the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, to act faster in ensuring the conclusion of the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) by the end of 2021. This process was supposed to take place during 2020 and was due to include both written submissions and oral consultations from all stakeholders in the fishing industry.

Minister Creecy announced last year that the process would be delayed and that it would be completed by December 2021. It was also announced that the overarching legislation, the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) would subsequently be amended and that would only commence in 2022.

In response to a DA parliamentary question submitted last month, the Minister has advised that additional steps have now been taken to speed up the process. These include conducting an internal review process instead of waiting for the appointment of external contractors. These small steps must be welcomed, however if one looks at the proposed time frames provided for FRAP, it seems unlikely to be concluded by the end of this year as promised.

Whilst the initial draft is due to be published in May, there is significant public participation and other processes that then need to take place. Some analysts in the fishing industry have looked at the probable timeline for the rollout and suggested that this takes us to a potential conclusion of April 2022 at earliest.

If one couples this protracted timeline with the complete bungle made by the department during the flawed Western Cape small-scale fishing allocation process, things look bleak for the fishing industry in general and the Western Cape in particular. The DA remains open to a discussion around devolving the allocation of fishing rights to a local government level. As has been proven by the most recent mess with the Western Cape small-scale allocation process, the department has struggled to roll out these essential processes effectively. There is an obvious opportunity for competent provincial authorities such as the Western Cape Provincial Government to get involved in the fishing allocation process and we hope that the Minister will consider this standing offer.

We urge the Minister to do all she can to ensure that both the FRAP and the small-scale allocation process in the Western Cape are given urgent priority. The fishing industry is still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns and the government must ensure that the correct processes are put in place to help the fishing industry off its knees and back onto its feet.

Statement issued by Dave Bryant MP, DA Shadow Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, 19 March 2021