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[WATCH]Catch 22: Fishermen and communities struggle to abide by lockdown rules

9 April 2020 7:44 AM
Tags:
Fishing
coronavirus covid-19.
21 day lockdown SA
LIne fishing
West Coast fishing

The lockdown has had a major impact on small-scale commercial and line fishermen and the unclear regulations have caused chaos.

Easter in Cape Town is a time for eating fish, especially pickled fish, and it's in short supply due to lockdown.

The lockdown has had a major impact on small-scale commercial and line fishermen says the director of fishing advisory firm Feike, Shaheen Moolla.

He talks to Lester Kiewit about the disaster management regulations under the 21-day lockdown,

The regulations have had quite a confusing impact on the small-scale sector in particular and that is putting it mildly. It has actually just been chaotic.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

He puts this down to the department not consulting broadly across the sector and not coordinating with other departments regarding issues such as maritime safety and harbour access.

We have had turmoil and has threatened the sustainability of line fishing, which relies 80 -100% on snoek for their livelihoods on the West Coast.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

It is the middle of the key snoek season known as the snoek run.

All fishing operations were considered an essential service under the Covid-19 disaster regulations. So, in theory, we should have been able to go fishing.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

But the unique situation of line fisherman who has to follow the fish in boats was not considered properly, he explains.

Here you have ski-boats on trailers being towed around the coast as we chase the snoek...so while allowed in theory the problems have been in implementing that.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

It involves not just catching the fish, but also landing the fish and then transporting the fish to the fish traders or langaaners who in turn get that fish to communities, he says.

These necessary langaaners have been prevented from driving to harbours he adds. Many have contacted Moolla and described being stopped by local authorities and SAPS roadblocks blocking them from moving in and out of these areas.

The langaaners say they are not prepared to spend the R30,000 - R40,000 cash transaction on the queue side...and risk their bakkie loads of fish stopped or confiscated...and fish rots and they do not have access to cold storage if they are turned back at roadblocks.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

It is also a lot of food that communities are waiting for and depending on.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

Moolla says government should have spoken to these industry players and find out what they would need for a successful snoek run.

Those things could have been ironed out...at this stage, confusing and conflicting messages are being received.

Shaheen Moolla, Director - Feike

Lester also speaks to Whilma Liedeman, wife of Rodney Liedeman a fisherman and boat owner and Nazley Hendricks, Co-founder at the Wetton Fish Market.

The fisherman could go out but they had no hawkers.

Whilma Liedeman, Wife of Rodney Liedeman a fisherman and boat owner

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9 April 2020 7:44 AM
Tags:
Fishing
coronavirus covid-19.
21 day lockdown SA
LIne fishing
West Coast fishing

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