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The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape will, as per Rule 16A of the Uniform Rules of Court, apply to be a friend of the court (amicus curiae) in the case brought against the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), for the Department’s failure to heed scientific advice relating to the total allowable catch of West Coast Rock Lobster (kreef).

Last year the DAFF announced that its total allowable catch of West Coast Rock Lobster would remain unchanged at 1924,08 tonnes for the season despite devastating stock levels. The WWF in South Africa stated in November last year, that West Coast Rock Lobster stock levels were at 1/40 of their unfished levels.

According to the WWF’s South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), which the Western Cape government closely observes, West Coast Rock Lobster is also listed as red, and already at the mercy of overfishing.

If the Department continues to flout scientific advice necessary to protect the vitality of this marine resource, the species will be decimated entirely by the end of the decade, with devastating repercussions for the Western Cape’s oceans and our local fishing communities.

On 5 July 2019, DAFF Deputy Director General responsible for Fisheries, Siphokazi Ndudane, was also suspended for the second time in the span of a few weeks. The Department’s to and fro on this issue is further proof that there is an internal cover up at large within the DAFF while South Africa’s fisheries hang worryingly in the balance.

It is clear that the DAFF is clueless as to the effective management of the Western Cape’s oceans economy, and our small-scale fishermen and women will have to pay the price. We support the WWF’s case against the DAFF and will be applying to contribute evidence in support of its submissions on behalf of those vulnerable to this Department’s gross mismanagement in our province. The DAFF’s failure to effectively manage the Western Cape’s fisheries threatens to decimate our fish stocks, along with the jobs our oceans economy creates for our people. This Department must be held to account.

As the DA in the Western Cape, we remain committed to protecting and preserving the vitality of our oceans, along with the important economy and jobs they sustain for our people.

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