Cooperatives cant be allocated a fishing right. Any cooperative that applies for a fishing right in September this year will not be eligible to lawfully hold a fishing right. The department's insistence that a cooperative can be granted a fishing right without an amendment to the MLRA is either just plain stupidity or appalling dishonesty.
But the Department of Fisheries continues to lie to vulnerable fishing communities by encouraging them to spend substantial funds, time and energy in creating co-operatives knowing full-well that fishing rights may not be granted to these entities under the MLRA. There are many unscrupulous "consultants" and accountants happily feeding off desperate fishing communities urgently seeking to establish co-operatives.
There cannot be a greater abuse of power and just plain dishonesty than for a government department aided and abetted by an equally dishonest fisheries minister to lead fishing communities down this garden path.
What will they tell these communities when fishing rights are not allocated to their cooperatives or when a court of law intervenes in such an illegal allocation?
The most recently published order paper for bills to be considered by Parliament confirms that the MLRA amendment bill is not on any of the order papers for the rest of the Parliamentary session. It cant be. Cabinet has not even considered and approved the amendment bill yet - despite the Fisheries Minister's public lie that the amendment bill was approved by Cabinet on 7 August 2013. As we have previously stated, given that 2014 is an election year, the amendment bill may only be considered by Parliament after the May / June 2014 General Elections, which could see the amendment bill passed during the middle of 2015.
Our advice to communities along the coast that are prepared to listen to some honesty is to not waste time and money creating cooperatives.