Sunday, March 25, 2012

Did the DAFF say they could allocate fishing rights?

You may recall that on 17 January 2012, the Minister of Fisheries was frothing at the mouth trying to convince the fishing industry that her department was able to get itself ready and allocate commercial fishing rights come next year. If we recall further, Feike had directly questioned the department's ability to timeously allocate commercial fishing rights across some 8 commercial fishery sectors by 2013.

At the time, Feike issued a stern response noting 5 reasons why the Minister and her department could not be trusted to ensure a timeous and sustainable quota allocations process (See

Well, now we add reasons 6 and 7.

6. The Minister now admits that her totally dysfunctional and possibly corrupt department cannot even get its act together to issue a single tender to protect and manage our extremely valuable commercial fisheries. And instead of committing skills, money and other resources toward preparing for the next round of fishing quota allocations, her department will now be paralysed by historic tender allocation witch-hunts and "committees of inquiry".

7. The Minister has placed a moratorium on all tenders which means that with less than 20 months to go before fishing rights in most of the fisheries concerned expire, the Minister's dysfunctional and possibly corrupt department (in whom she says she has complete faith!) can't seek outside expertise to help it get ready for the next round of long-term commercial fishing rights. (Actually, we are not sure if this is a bad thing or good thing 'cause who knows to whom they may hand out a tender? Perhaps another fishing company to oversee the allocation of fishing rights!)

So, here we have a thoroughly dysfunctional department led by a Minister who has committed substantial time and energy over the past month screeching about moving fisheries to Pretoria so as to equitably spread fish across the country(!) but demands that we trust her department to allocate long term fishing quotas worth billions of rands come next year. I am more inclined to believe in the existence of the Easter Bunny.

The Minister though has attempted to silence the growing chorus of criticism against her by foolishly decreeing that she and her departmental officials will firmly stick their heads in the sand from now on and not answer the rapidly growing list of questions on her leadership ability. Apparently everything related to fish is now "sub judice"!

Feike's advice to the 1200 right holders in the traditional line fish, abalone, shark demersal, large pelagic, KZN prawn trawl, trek net, squid, hake handline and tuna pole sectors is that they ought to be gravely concerned as there is a real prospect now that their rights will simply be allowed to expire thus prejudicing their millions of rands in investments and the more than 11,000 jobs sustained by these fishery sectors.

No comments:

Post a Comment