Monday, October 13, 2014

Oyster Exemptions Granted After SA Human Rights Commission Intervenes

The Fisheries Department finally issued exemptions to those oyster right holders who were not re-allocated their rights during the failed and unlawful 2013 fishing rights allocation process. 

The issuing of exemptions - on (or about) 9 October 2014 - meant that for some 10 months oyster harvesters were forced into poverty or illegality as DAFF refused to allocate these harvesters their exemptions despite acknowledging that the FRAP 2013 was unlawful back in April 2014. 

And the only reason these exemptions were issued is because one former right holder approached the Human Rights Commission for assistance. DAFF similarly only issued exemptions to abalone right holders after the Public Protector became involved. And relief for the line fishers came only after a court order and unprecedented public anger and outcry. 

DAFF continues to ignore tuna and demersal shark harvesters who were not re-allocated their respective fishing rights in terms of FRAP 2013. The message to these right holders is clear. If you want DAFF to stop ignoring you, use the Constitutional institutions such as the Public Protector and SA Human Rights Commission. Access to these institutions is free and they have clearly proved effective. 

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