Saturday, February 22, 2014

Traditional Line Fish Rights Crisis: An Update

The deadline for the submission of appeals in the traditional line fish and the other 7 fishing sectors passed at 16h00 on 21 February 2014. It is important to note that this deadline is not cast in stone especially since many right holders have not yet received scoresheets and other documentation required to lodge a proper, complete and adequate appeal. 

All applicants who receive their scoresheets and further documents such as the scoresheets of other applicants in their sector, in the coming days and weeks and reckon they can either appeal or supplement their appeals against the decision to refuse them a fishing right, will have 30 days from the date on which they received their scoresheets and/or additional documents to file an appeal. 

On Monday 24 February, line fishers will have their urgent application to extend the 28 February fishing exemption deadline extended heard at 10am before the Western Cape High Court. This application also paves the way for a review application to be heard on 14 April 2014 which will seek to set aside the entire 2013 FRAP line fish rights allocation process. The urgent application on Monday morning will be heard on an unopposed basis as neither the Minister nor the Acting DDG has opposed the application. 

We are however told that the Minister intends making some or other announcement regarding the fishing rights allocation process and the court application on Sunday morning at the Holy Trinity Church in Kalk Bay. During the past week, the Minister has suddenly decided meet with members of fishing communities such as in Kalk Bay. But why now? Why were these communities not consulted with BEFORE the disastrous fishing quota allocation announcement on 30 December 2013? Our information is that the Minister has been advised that the 2013 rights allocation process is simply unable to withstand any legal challenge and the Minister has been instructed to urgently and desperately buy time by trying to appease the line fishing industry by essentially agreeing to the terms of the urgent court application that is intended to be heard on Monday morning. By announcing an extension to the 28 February exemption cut-off period, the Minister will try and remove the urgency required for the application to be heard on Monday morning.  

We will provide any update on the Minister's pronouncements in Kalk Bay tomorrow on our blog. 

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