Multi-stakeholder process of co-designing small-scale fisheries policy in South Africa
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In 2005, a group of researchers, community-based organizations and lawyers got together with small-scale fishers to launch a class action law suit against the government of South Africa in its allocation system of Individual Transferable Quotas, on the ground that the system was unfair to small-scale fishing communities and threatened their right to practise their livelihoods. This effort resulted in the cabinet adoption of a new small-scale fisheries policy in 2014, with amendments being made to fisheries law (the Marine Living Resource Act 18 of 1998) to accommodate the issues and concerns of small-scale fisheries. Draft regulations and an implementation plan have recently been released, paving the way for the implementation of small-scale fisheries allocations in 2016. These legal and policy shifts are of great significance for small-scale fisheries, both in South Africa and elsewhere, and deserve careful examination. This paper discusses the processes leading to the development of a new small-scale fisheries policy and what has followed since.