Synopsis for the "The Catch" on Special Assignment, 26 April 2012 (21:10, SA Time):
Philip Sothomela (67) has known no life other than the sea. But in 2004 he suffered a stroke that left him unable to perform even the most basic of bodily Today, his wife Makhoti devotes all her time to caring for him. She too was a fisher but his ill-health and their financial problems have prevented her from going back to the sea. Like thousands of other small-scale and subsistence fishers she is pinning her hopes on a new fishing policy that will provide her with the greater access to the sector and secure the future, not only for her desperately ill husband but for her children and grandchildren as well.
Almost twenty years since the advent of democracy, life for the traditional fishing communities has become harder. Competition for limited stocks has escalated, poaching and overfishing are on the rise and DAFF's monitoring capacity has been severely compromised due to corruption and inefficiency. If adequate action is not taken to address this, the consequences for both our marine resources and traditional fishing communities could be irreversible.
But will the small-scale fisheries policy provide a safety net for struggling fishing communities along the coast? Or will it be the bait to catch traditional fishing communities in a greater poverty trap, hook, line and sinker?