DAFF's 2013 Fishing Rights Allocation Process is a cowardly and unjust attempt to ruin the livelihoods of hundreds of traditional line fishers, tuna pole, hake handline and shark demersal fishers. These fishers have invested millions of rands over the past 8 years; created 1000 of jobs; paid their taxes and fish levies to this government; religiously complied with fishing permit conditions and DAFF's mundane bureaucratic rules only to be denied long term fishing rights to which they had every lawful and legitimate right when applications were submitted in September 2013.
I witnessed the fear, anger and financial anxiety by dozens of fishermen out in Yzerfontein this morning. I have been fielding dozens more phone calls from fishermen and their spouses. They are grief stricken. What are they going to do this January? How will bonds be paid? What about school fees, groceries and electricity? How can someone who knows nothing about the fishery industry be appointed as a decision-maker and now end decades of fishing careers?
This of course is the gift of the ANC-appointed cadre. You dont have to know anything about your job. Hell you dont have to even qualify for the post in terms of criteria set by this very government. All you have do is be politically connected and the job is yours ... to sow destruction and cause serious economic harm to one fishing sector after another.
The reality is that ultimately it will have to be the courts that will have to intervene in this mess. But litigation against the Fisheries Department who has no budget thanks to us taxpayers comes at a great cost to local fishers - both emotional and financial. There is little doubt though that the litigation option will ultimately be relied upon but how do we ensure that the grave injustices of this allocation process are not allowed to deny 1000's of crew their jobs and rob local fishing families of much needed income this January?
Feike strongly supports the call for all fishers who held a long term fishing right as at 30 December 2013 to put their boats to sea as an act of united and mass defiance against this unlawful series of decisions.