Minister of forestry, fisheries and the environment, Barbara Creecy, has instructed the directorate: appeals and legal review within her department to conclude the FRAP 2021-2022 appeals process by no later than October 2023.
The allocation of commercial fishing rights is crucial to job creation, food security, and the livelihoods of many fishers and fishing communities. Therefore, finality on the allocations of fishing rights is essential for a stable fishing industry that attracts and secures investment, said the minister.
“The appeals process for commercial fishing rights allocation for the 2021-2022 period received 2 473 applications across nine fishing sectors. The department’s decisions in relation to the FRAP 2021/2022 were finalised during February 2022,” Creecy said in a media release.
“The appeals directorate received a total of 1 213 appeals against the decisions of the delegated authorities across the aforementioned nine fishing sectors.”
The appeals directorate is administering these 1 213 appeals on a sector-by-sector basis in phases with due regard to the commencement of the fishing season for each sector. Phase one of the appeals process dealt with the appeals in the Demersal Shark sector, the KwaZulu-Natal crustacean trawl sector, and with miscellaneous and non-compliant appeals.
The second phase, currently under consideration, is handling the appeals in the South Coast rock lobster sector and the traditional line fish sector. These appeals are due to be finalised by 28 February 2023, and the department is committed to meeting this timeline.
Phase three of the appeals process deals with the tuna pole line and squid sectors, and these appeals are currently under consideration by the minister’s appeals advisory team for their recommendations to Creecy. The proposed date for finalisation of these appeals is 30 April 2023.
Phase Four of the appeals process deals with the appeals in the hake deep sea trawl and hake longline sectors. Due to the volume and complexity of appeals in this sector, the proposed date for finalisation of these appeals is 30 July 2023.
Phase Five of the appeals process deals with the appeals in the small pelagic: sardine and anchovy sectors. The department is endeavouring to complete phase five of the appeal process by 30 October 2023. These timeframes are subject to review, but the department says it is striving to complete each phase of the appeal process within the proposed timeframes.
Creecy emphasised the importance of concluding the appeals process to ensure a stable fishing industry that promotes investment and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. “It is also essential to maximise the economic potential of the ﬁsheries sector and to protect the integrity and quality of the country’s marine and coastal ecosystems.”
This announcement is said to bring hope to fishers and fishing communities who rely on the commercial fishing industry for their livelihoods. The timely conclusion of the appeals process will provide much-needed stability to the industry, attract investment, and contribute to food security.
Commenting on the department’s progress in the appeal process, Creecy said, “The department will also, on an ongoing basis, publish its progress in relation to each phase of the appeals process on its website.”