On Friday 11 November 2016, South Africa's Fisheries Management Branch issued a suite of provisional decisions in the high value capital intensive Horse Mackerel, Patagonian Toothfish, Large Pelagic and Hake Inshore Trawl fishery sectors.
The provisional decisions are for the allocation of 15yr long fishing rights, which are set to expire in 2031.
Why Provisional Decisions? The intention behind issuing provisional decisions is to provide interested and affected parties an initial comment period on the provisional lists of successful and unsuccessful applicants. Importantly, it allows the decision-maker an opportunity to address any material oversights during the evaluation process and misrepresentations by applicants.
What are the "General Published Reasons"? The General Published Reasons (GPR) document dates back to the first medium term fishing rights allocation process in 2001/2002. The GPR is a detailed record of the process underpinning the decision making process and a further record explaining the rationale for the decisions (both final and provisional). In addition, the GPR proposes how the total allowable catch or total applied effort for the fishery is to be allocated to the successful applicants.
Do unsuccessful applicants have to appeal now? No. As the GPR presently only records provisional decisions, applicants cannot appeal the decisions until the final decisions are made after the the conclusion of the provisional decision-making process. All applicants and interested parties can comment at this stage on the provisional decisions and submit comments on the proposed quantum / effort allocation methodologies.
By when must comments be submitted? Comment on the provisional decision lists and quantum/effort allocation methodologies for Horse Mackerel, Hake Inshore Trawl and Large Pelagics is due by 16h00 on Monday 12 December 2016. The only exception applies to the tooth fishery, where comments need to be submitted by no later than 16h00 on 25 November 2016. The reason for the shorter comment period in this fishery is because the season is set to commence on 1 December and the number of total applicants and potentially successful applicants are relatively small.
1. Patagonian Toothfishery
The Patagonian Toothfishery GPR recording the provisional decisions can be accessed here. Of the 24 applications submitted for rights in this fishery, the provisional decision records the allocation of 1 right at this stage, with decisions on 5 applicants reserved pending further clarifications.
Interestingly, the GPR notes that new entrants may be accommodated via a separate further call for applications under section 18, alternatively that a fishing rights leasing/tender process may be instituted under Section 22 of the Marine Living Resources Act. Section 22 has never before been used to allocate fishing rights and could provide an alternative allocation methodology to the current system (at least for high value, capital intensive, offshore fisheries).
2. Horse Mackerel
The Horse Mackerel GPR can be accessed here. Of the 80 applications submitted for rights in this fishery, the provisional decision records the allocation of 33 rights at this stage. Of the 33 rights allocated, 6 are to previous right holders (Category A applicants) and 27 to New Entrant applicants.
3. Hake Inshore Trawl
The Hake Inshore Trawl GPR can be accessed here. Of the 156 applications submitted for rights in this fishery, the provisional decision records the allocation of 26 rights at this stage. Of the 26 rights allocated, 14 are to previous right holders (Category A applicants) and 12 to New Entrant applicants.
4. Large Pelagics
The Large Pelagic GPR can be accessed here. Of the 128 applications submitted for rights in this fishery, the provisional decision records the allocation of 55 rights at this stage. Of the 55 rights allocated, 20 are to previous right holders (Category A applicants) and 35 to New Entrant applicants.
The Large Pelagic fishery represents a fishery capable of substantial growth given South Africa's significantly increased Southern Bluefin quota which increased from 40 tons to 450 tons! As these tunas are the most valuable of the large pelagic species targeted by the fishery, the increased TAC allocation to South Africa by CCSBT should attract important investment and growth in the fishery.