Fishers united march in Cape Town 28 October 2021

Written by Hilda Adams

After the reduction in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was announced by DFFE on 15 October there was a call for unity by different fisher organizations in the Western Cape who organized under the phrase Fishers United. We had discussions and we drew up a list of demands and there were seven demands that we would put forward to the minister in a memorandum. I suppose minister Barbara Creecy heard about the new movement, about all the organizations coming together and she called us to an urgent meeting so we met with the minister on Saturday the 23rd of October and we raised the concerns that we have to her. She spoke to us and she said that if the march goes ahead then she will be happy to receive the demands. I think she maybe thought that the March would not go ahead, however, we had a good meeting with her and we gave feedback to the fishers united task team. From there we prepared; the application for the march was already done on Friday the 22nd of October and we got permission for the March the next week. All organisations mobilized the members to get together for the March. Some people got some funding and transported people. We had people from northern Cape right around to Plettenberg bay. Communities represented include: Oceanview; Strand; Retreat; Kalkbay; Grassy Park; Lavender Hill; Hondeklipbaai; Elandsbaai; Mamre & Yzerfontein; Zwelihle; Mount Pleasant; Westdene/Kleinmond; Stanford; Plettenberg Bay; Gourits / Stilbaai; Mitchell’s Plain; Lambertsbay; Houtbay; Khayalitsha; Sir Lowry’s Pass Village; Doringbaai; Vrygrond; Westcoast ; Langa; Darling; Kraaifontein; Imizamo Yethu; Atlantis; Cape Town Central; Blouberg; Hawston; Laaiplek/Veldrif. Unfortunately we didn’t have an attendance register but I think it was like a close to 500 if not more fishers from all the fishing villages that came.

In the photograph alongside, by Barry Christianson, I read the memorandum to the minister with all the fishers hearing and Minister Creecy gave us some commitments in a speech afterwards I can send you that video so of the commitments was a the appointment of members on CAF looking into indigenous rights and reviewing the Marine Living Resources Act.

I felt this march was really amazing and getting all our fishes together to fight for justice with the aspects that we raised; it was beautiful.  was really inspired and it was a beautiful march. The minister even thanked us for a peaceful march that we had. It was just so perfectly arranged within a short space of time and to think it was all arranged via WhatsApp! So the Consultative Advisory Forum reviewed the TAC and a report was given to the minister. On 13 December it was announced that the TAC was increased for the 2021-2022 season and the minister accepted the recommendations of the CAF which include significant focus on small scale fishers participating in the management of the resource. (Further reading).