Current state of extension and advisory services in South African fisheries
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The fishing industry can be divided into marine, recreational, aquaculture and inland sub-sectors. The marine sub-sector is the main commercial fishing sector comprised of industrial fishing and also smallscale fishing, the latter having just been gazetted in June 2012. The recreational sub-sector has the most participants with over three quarters of people participating in the sector. The last two are new sectors that are currently being created and legally formalised. The marine small-scale fisheries, inland fisheries and community aquaculture have been established on the basis of providing for food security and poverty alleviation for coastal communities and inland rural communities. Prior to the revised Marine Living Resources Act of 1998, only marine commercial fishing and recreational fishing had been legally recognised as the fishing activities. Fisheries management had thus been the conventional science based centralised type whereby government was solely responsible for management of fisheries. Because fishing rights were only given to a few entities, an exclusionary type to co-management between government and the few players was possible. As a result of this past management approach, government had not developed a formal extension capability. This changed after the end of apartheid in 1994 and the entry of increase numbers of rights holders into the industry as part of transformation of the industry. Despite the entry of increased number of people into the industry, interaction and consultation between government and industry has been formalised through scientific and management working groups. Participation in these working groups is through representation by a selected member of a rights holders association, meaning that those that do not belong to industry associations are not represented. Industry associations also make use of private (consultant based) advisory and legal services. Other coercive forms of advice to industry by both international and national organisations are the market and consumer based initiatives such as certifications and fair trade. The dire need for an extension and advisory service to the industry by government is likely to particularly important for small-scale fisheries, inland fisheries and community aquaculture given that participants in these sectors are likely to be poor and thus cannot afford the use of private services. One approach that has been tried in the past for dealing with small-scale fisheries have been attempts to establish comanagement arrangements. Although co-management committees can be used as vehicles for passing on advice and other extension services, the approach remains a biased towards management rather than as a vehicle for provision of advice and/or extension services to resource users. DAFF will thus need to build an extension service in order to cater for these sectors.
- Policy Briefs (PLAAS)