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Eastern Cape small-scale fishermen get a shot in the arm

Small-scale fishermen in the Eastern Cape got a shot in the arm when Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) MEC, Nonkqubela Pieters, handed over much-needed fishing gear and equipment to help improve their fishing.

The handover comes after the 2023/24 financial year, when the department injected a R1.7 million investment to kick-start support to small-scale fishing cooperatives along the province’s coastline as part of driving agricultural development programmes. 

The fishing equipment was handed over to the fishing cooperative members from Lusikisiki, Port St Johns and Xolobeni during an event held at Madakeni Village, on Wednesday.

The equipment was handed over to the fishing enterprises, including small-scale fishing permit holders, who received their fishing permits, as part of government’s deliberate effort to ensure that they have proper equipment and gear for fishing. This is part of ensuring that the communities benefit from the marine resources near them.

The equipment includes fishing rods, wet suits, fishing nets, blades, sucking pumps, safety boots, head lamps, life jackets and masks with snorkels.

Pieters said the handing over the equipment forms part of the department’s ongoing investment in coastal communities aimed at helping coastal communities with fishing permits to improve their fishing and increase income from fishing. 

Pieters said while the province has 75 fishing cooperatives with fishing rights, most of them are unable to harvest the marine resources due to inadequate infrastructure, fishing gear and equipment.

She said the support will benefit five cooperatives, with 195 fishers in the OR Tambo, Amathole, and Alfred Nzo District Municipalities. 
 
“As the custodians of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform programmes in the province, the department prioritises supporting previously disadvantaged communities and individuals with appropriate fishing gear and equipment to improve their livelihoods,” Pieters said. 

Pieters reiterated that the department seeks to enable subsistence and black fishing cooperatives to derive optimum economic benefit out of their agricultural activities. – SAnews.gov.za 



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