Small-scale fisheries on the West Coast are poised for economic revitalisation, thanks to the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) investment of more than R11 million for fishing in the region.
The funding has been made available through the dti’s Fishing Cluster Project.
The main goal of the project is to create a sustainable fisheries industry by putting in place support measures to help create jobs and income generating opportunities.
As part of the project, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies recently handed over fishing boats to the value of R1.6 million to fishing cooperatives in Ocean View and Masiphumelele.
“The boats that we are handing over can enable this community to generate R1.8 million in a year. We want communities to be able to provide for their families and communities. Our aim with such projects is also to broaden the participation of small-scale fishing communities to higher commercial value activities,” said Minister Davies.
The Minister added that another purpose of the Fishing Cluster Project was to assist small businesses, such as cooperatives and small-scale fisheries, to achieve their maximum productivity in the commercial fishing sector.
So far 39 cooperatives have been funded to the tune of more than R11 million.
Minister Davies said that these funds provided cooperatives with a much-needed asset and capital base to begin trading competitively.
Mancaeta Nkululeko, who is the chairperson of Sinethemba Fishing, said the boats they were using previously posed many problems for the fishermen.
They were unsafe, could not accommodate many fishermen and did not allow them to go deep into the sea, he explained.
“Our lives are now safe with this new boat. We will now go deeper into the sea and catch more fish,” Nkululeko said.