The fishing community is largely thrilled that the process of awarding local small-scale fishing rights, will re-open.

Last week, the Western Cape High Court reviewed and set aside the process used between 2016 and 2019.

It was discovered that it wasn’t accurate and fair.

The Fisheries Department will re-run the verification, registration and declaration of the rights – and that process will start later in September.

Programme manager at Masifundise, Carmen Mannarino says while they welcome the ruling, they’re concerned about delays will follow.

“Because only the people, who applied in 2016, will now be allowed to re-apply. It means that if you were 18 years old in 2016, now 24, you will not be allowed to apply for the rights under this small-scale fishing. Effectively this means the youth is left behind”.

Meanwhile, the SA United Fishing Front chairperson Pedro Garcia, says they don’t want the process to focus solely on this period.

“The fact that they’re only looking at original applicants of 2016, this is a huge bone of contention among communities. So much that we are in a process of mobilising and will take to the streets if necessary”.

Meanwhile, the department said in preparation for the new process, it will be hosting regular community interactions and will ensure the direct involvement of community-based organisations.