Small-scale fishers recently shared their experiences and learnt more about how to fish sustainably, at a workshop held in Retreat.
The workshop was part of the Small-scale Responsible Fisheries Training Project designed to empower members of the fishing community in all four coastal provinces of South Africa.
The ultimate aim is to raise awareness around responsible fishing practices and the benefits of a holistic “ecosystem approach to fisheries’’ to secure healthy oceans on which so many people depend for both their daily food and family income.
The project, which started in March, was conceptualised by Word Wildlife Fund (WWF) South Africa and is co-ordinated nationally, by the International Ocean Institute – African Region (IOI-SA). It is being funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).
The plan is to hold at least 36 community workshops over the next two years, reaching around 850 small-scale fishers along the length of South Africa’s coastline.
Train-the-trainerworkshops have already been hosted in Cape Town, Port St Johns and Umhlanga to upskill trainers who go on to facilitate further community workshops.
These trainers have gone on to hold workshops as far afield as Kleinmond, Gugulethu, Doringbaai and Papendorp in the Western Cape, Hondeklipbaai in the Northern Cape and Kenton-on-Sea and Hamburg in the Eastern Cape.
The project aligns with the imminent roll-out of the government’s Small-scale Fisheries Policy which has a strong focus on communities working together in co-operatives and ensuring sustainable management of fish stocks through quotas.
Retreat workshop facilitator William August, from Kleinmond, said: “I believe that people must progress. It is important to me that people are empowered and educated and that they can be part of the planning process for development.”
Fellow facilitator Grace Adams, from Seawinds, added: “A workshop like this brings fishers together and gives them a platform to raise their voices.” Visit the project website: https: //sites.google.com/view/ssrft/home