In South Africa, the fishing sector is governed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and any person or company who desires to trade or deal with fish products needs to be in possession of a DAFF permit. Every DAFF permit is accompanied by a set of clearly outlined rules or conditions with which the permit holder needs to comply. All DAFF permit holders are regularly visited by DAFF Compliance Officers to enforce the permit conditions.
In May 2015, Senior DAFF Marine Conservation Inspector, Sithembiso Thela, and his team visited Selecta Sea Products in Philippi on the Cape Flats. Thela was informed about a two day RFA responsible fishing training programme, which was developed by the WWF-SA and the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) to educate all role-players within the fishing industry about an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries management (EAF) in order to protect the resource and the livelihoods of those dependent on the industry. An EAF balances the diverse needs and values of all who use, enjoy or depend on the ocean now and in the future by ensuring the health of the ecosystem.
Senoir Inspector Thela immediately highlighted the critical need for such training within the broader fishing industry. The first training session was attended by DAFF Compliance Officers, Game Rangers, Law Enforcement officials and Viking deep sea fishermen who had the opportunity of linking their training to real life situations. It also provided them with an understanding of the measures industry has put in place to promote responsible fishing practices, which could guide their monitoring in future. The training provided a wonderful platform for fishers and compliance officers to exchange perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of each other, which has already reaped benefits for engagements between the two constituencies in and around harbours.
The success of the first training sessions led to another training session hosted by Viking in July 2016, which prompted a request that all City of Cape Town and DAFF officials receive the training. Since then a number of courses has been hosted with DAFF MCS officials and the RFA members, which include WWF-SA, BirdLife SA, I&J, Oceana, Pioneer fishing, Sea Harvest and Viking Fishing, have agreed to partner with DAFF to train all MCS officials across the country.
More information on the RFA training course can be accessed on the RFA projects page here: https://www.rfalliance.org.za/2017/01/07/responsible-fisheries-training-programme/