Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuna Pole Fishery Gets 15 Years

We have commented previously on the irrationality of proposing a 7 year duration for the fishing quotas intended for allocation later this year. 

However, one of the least black empowered fishery sectors - the tuna pole fishery - will be allocated rights for 15 years according to the draft fishing policy. Now this really places DAFF on the wrong footing. The draft tuna pole policy states that, "having regard to the new investment in vessels right holder" - (the failure of language here is normal and we reckon is part of DAFF' attempts at introducing a new language called Craplish which has been used extensively throughout the draft policies and draft Amendment Bill) - rights will be allocated for a period of 15 years (1 February 2014 - 31 January 2029).

How does DAFF justify allocating 15 year long fishing rights to the tuna pole fishery but not to the other 7 sectors? And DAFF cannot now reduce the allocation period in the final version of the tuna policy, principally because the comment period has closed and of course it is unlikely that anyone would have objected to their current 8 year right in the tuna pole fishery being extended to 2029! 

DAFF will be hard pressed to not amend the remaining draft fishing policies to increase the fishing right duration period to 15 years as well. The squid and line fish industries have a strong legal case now for 15 year rights as well. 

CONSULTATION: On 20 May 2013, the department issued an email to certain persons informing them of an ad-hoc series of tuna pole policy consultation meetings in Durban, Lamberts Bay and Port Elizabeth. These meetings are clearly a panicked and extra-legal response to Feike's criticisms that the initial solitary formal consultation meeting for the tuna pole fishery was restricted to only Cape Town. The most significant problem with these ad-hoc additional meetings on 22, 23 and 24 May, is that the gazetted date for comment on the policy has now passed and the comment period has closed.  

The entire consultation and comment process coupled with the out-dated copy-and-paste policies written in Craplish are just a mess. It all lacks coherence, thought and planning. There is no process framework with clear timelines and achievable outcomes. Confusion and contradiction are everywhere. 

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