South Africa’s oceans made headlines this month for their potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the national GDP and create over one million jobs by 2033.
This, however, can only be realised if the oceans are managed correctly to ensure sustainable use with lasting benefits to the industries that support community livelihoods such as the fishing industry.
According to Maseda Ratshikuni, Head of Cause Marketing at Nedbank, a critical part of this management includes rigorous engagement and participation from local communities and businesses.
“In this regard, the WWF-Nedbank Green Trust’s Kogelberg marine project, along the Southern Cape, is succeeding by combining communities with conservation.”
Small-scale fisheries and the Kogelberg Coast project
“Over the past years, the WWF Nedbank Green Trust has made great progress in the enhancement of sustainable fishing in South Africa with the funding of the ‘Small-scale fisheries and the Kogelberg Coast’ project. The Trust is funded by the Nedbank Green Affinity programme which, since its 1990 inception, has made it possible for Nedbank clients to donate and make a meaningful difference to conservation projects such as these.”
The main objective of this project is to demonstrate the Integrated Ocean Management approach by bringing together all coastal stakeholders (including small scale fishing communities, municipalities, conservation agencies and residents) to a point where they collectively agree on a plan for the sustainable management of their marine resources. An effective plan needs to incorporate more than fisheries regulations and marine protected areas and should also consider important social concerns such as improved market opportunities and alternative livelihoods.
“We are trying to encourage the local community to take responsibility for sustainably managing fish stocks within the Kogelberg area by creating positive incentives for local small-scale fisheries that are working towards the project’s long term goals,” says Augustine Morkel, Manager of the WWF-Nedbank Green Trust.
This includes ensuring the broad principle that within the Kogelberg area, 80% of the inshore zone should be managed for preferential use by smaller-scale local fishers (both commercial and recreational), enabling the remaining 20% to be set aside as a ‘no take’ area to allow resources to recover.
Responsible fishing practices inspired through market incentives
Market incentives linking the Kogelberg fishing communities to the formal seafood marketing channels are being introduced to inspire responsible fishing practices. Examples of these include involving chefs from restaurants that serve sustainable seafood (SASSI) to source and serve Hottentot fish from Kleinmond. Also, some of the country’s leading food retailers have participated in a WWF led retailer learning journey and have shown a willingness to source some of the less exploited species such as mussels and Hottentot fish from the area.
In helping to ensure alignment, small-scale fishers from the small-scale fishing communities of Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond have also been invited to participate in the Kogelberg Biosphere Coast Marine Working Group meetings which take place every quarter to discuss the challenges facing effective integrated management within the region. Convening stakeholders from the fishers, local municipality, CapeNature, DAFF, DEA, local residents and NGOs to understand the diversity of needs which need to be considered, is a key first step in achieving consensus on how to move forward.
WWF-SA have also developed a Small-Scale Fisher Training Course which has been rolled out to some of the small-scale fishers and relevant stakeholders within the Kogelberg area. To date, only two representatives have been trained in the region but there are plans to roll-out the training nationally with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
Accountability needed on both ends
“Our work of encouraging communities to take responsibility for managing marine resources effectively and to speak up against ill practices such as overfishing and poaching has been beneficial in ensuring accountability on both ends,” says Morkel.
The Kogelberg coast is best known as a rich fish and seafood area, as well as a breeding ground for the country’s endangered line fish, abalone and west coast lobster. This marine project is important because it is working towards bringing together the objectives of resource protection and conservation as advocated by the Marine Living Resources Act, Protected Areas Act, National Protected Area Expansion Strategy and the Small Scale fisheries policy. It also enjoys the support from the DAFF, Overstrand municipality, NGOs and Cape Nature.
“The Kogelberg project has been a learning experience and is helping us to improve our understanding of the constraints facing integrated ocean management and the value of the marine resources within the Kogelberg small-scale fishing communities,” says Morkel.
WWF-Nedbank Green Trust, already 25 years in existence, has proven that a strong people focus is imperative to achieve environmental sustainability and the protection of the planet’s natural heritage.