With the extended appeals deadline for the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP 2022) fast approaching, South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment responded to small-scale fishers and fishing groups who believed the entire fishing rights allocation process was fundamentally flawed.

South African United Fishing Front chairperson Pedro Garcia said the fishing rights allocations needed to be observed from different angles, and that the application process, in its entirety, was placed beyond normal fisherfolk in communities.

“Online processes are not something that our people are very familiar with. The ground support that was given was grossly inadequate for people to really make a difference in terms of filling in their applications,” Garcia said.

Garcia added that the FRAP took away the fishing resources and then tied them up for the next 10 to 15 years, which meant that even if smallscale fishing groups were able to secure the necessary requirements afterwards, those resources would not be available to them.

Jonathan Julius, Masifundise community liaison officer for Western Cape and Northern Cape, said out of the nine commercial fishing sectors due for re-allocation in the FRAP, only three sectors were identified as eligible small-scale species.