The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ is pushing ahead with a fishing rights allocation policy without it being presented to Parliament beforehand or going through adequate public consultation.
As a result of the lack of consultation, the Department continues to fumble in the dark with its fisheries portfolio, as evidenced by the potential disaster that could emanate from the 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process.
Pieter Van Dalen, spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance said that the the DA has been informed by prospective fishing rights applicants that the process is unnecessarily complex and riddled with red-tape.
“I have collected the application forms and verified for myself that:
- There are lengthy policy documents to read before application;
- The application documents and additional requirements are unnecessarily cumbersome;
- Despite most fishing communities being Afrikaans-speaking, documents and application forms are only available in English;
- No closing date is indicated on the application forms; and
- No assistance is being provided by the Department.
The DA will urgently request that the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Mlungisi Johnson, summon the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her Department to present and discuss the policies on the allocation and management of fishing rights” added Van Dalen.
The DA will also recommend that the red-tape in the application process be reduced, as the unnecessary blockages and requirements could exclude some applicants.
Fisheries and fishing communities have the potential to create jobs, contribute to economic growth and ensure sustainability and longevity of this age old artisan trade. No unnecessary red-tape and incompetence must be allowed to hinder the growth of this industry.
DA Councillor Danny Benson can be contacted about fishing quota;s in the Kouga on 073 766 4816