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Thursday, June 20, 2024
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DFFE responds to queries regarding kelp collecting during bird breeding season

Following concerns regarding kelp collecting during the breeding season of birds like the endangered Oyster Catcher, we directed a number of questions to the Departement of Forestry, Fisheries and the environment. Here are their responses:

  1. Could you provide information on the contractual arrangements for kelp collecting in Hangklip/Kleinmond?

Response: Seaweed resources are apportioned to the three fishing sectors, namely the local commercial, small-scale, and recreational fishing sector in terms of the provisions of section 14 of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act No. 18 of 1998) as amended (the MLRA). There is a zero allocation of the seaweed resource groups to the foreign fishing sector.

In terms of the local and small-scale commercial seaweed fishing sectors, rights are allocated to the successful applicants and small-scale fishing Co-operatives in terms of the provisions of section 18 of the MLRA. Right holders are then allocated portions of the seaweed resource groups to harvest in their respective seaweed concession areas. There can be more than one right holder per area, but there is one right holder allocated to harvest a certain seaweed resource group per area (e.g., one right holder can be allocated to harvest washed up kelp and the other to harvest Ulva). The commercial seaweed right holders are seasonally issued with permits together with the permit conditions to exercise their rights in terms of section 13 of the MLRA. The permit conditions prescribe the rules of utilisation of the permit.

The recreational fishers are permitted to harvest 10kgs per person per day.

Permits are issued annually to Rights Holders, giving them access to the resource. Permits are issued from 1 March of one year to 31 April of the following year. What is permitted (eg. harvesting method, where the resource can be harvested, etc.), during harvesting, is stipulated within the permits. The issue of harvesting during Black Oyster Catcher breeding season has not previously been raised with the Department.  The Department will investigate and consult with the Municipality, and if required, amend the permit conditions to ensure that kelp harvesting does not interfere with breeding season of ecologically sensitive species.

  1. Who is the contractor?

The local seaweed commercial permit holder can enter into third party contractual agreements, but the contractor will carry the permit of the permit holder when harvesting of seaweed on behalf of the permit holder. 

  1. Does the contract stipulate when and where they can collect?

The permit holder is responsible for management of its or his or her seaweed business including adherence to the permit conditions.

  1. Who is responsible for monitoring the contractor?

The permit holder is responsible for management or monitoring of contractors. The Chief Directorate: Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) is responsible for ensuring adherence to the MLRA and its Regulations, and the permit conditions by the permit holders. 

  1. Who should be contacted if the contractual agreement is not being adhered to?

The permit holder should be contacted since he/she/it is responsible for managing the contractor. If there is a suspicion of a contravention of the permit conditions or suspicions of harvesting without a permit then a Fisheries Control Officer can be contacted through the contact details that are provided in the permit conditions or a person can report the incident for attention via CSCEnquries@dffe.gov.za.

 

PETER MBELENGWA

CHIEF DIRECTOR: COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY

DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT

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