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Desperate small-scale fishers in South Africa get lifeline by Siphokazi Vuso October 27,2021   |  Source: IOL

In some hopeful relief for small-scale fishers, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has made an about turn in its West Coast Rock Lobster Total Allowable Catch (TAC) regulations, with the department finally acknowledging the threat its decisions may have on livelihoods.

The department had recently reduced the West Coast Rock Lobster TAC from 160kg to 35kg as part of the interim relief dispensation for the 2021/2022 season.

The Cape Times reported last Friday how the decision left fishers from coastal towns across the province up in arms, as this meant that they could only yield R6 000 a year – below the poverty line amount of R500 a month.

At the time of the announcement of the reduction, the department said officials indicated that the decision was “based on an updated stock assessment for the WCRL resource which indicated a further deterioration in the stock levels”.

But following widespread concern from both the small-scale and commercial sectors, fisheries minister Barbara Creecy said on Monday she will request the newly appointed Consultative Advisory Forum (the CAF) to review the 2021/2022 TAC process and allocation.

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