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'New law will help subsistence fishermen'

The Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill was adopted by the National Assembly on Thursday.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says changing the law for small-scale fishermen will pump millions into coastal economies.

The Marine Living Resources Amendment Bill was adopted by the National Assembly on Thursday, but must first go through the National Council of Provinces before it can become law.

Joemat-Pettersson came under fire from opposition MPs during a heated debate where she was accused of making empty promises.

The bill requires small-scale fishermen to form cooperative bodies in order to be allocated fishing rights.

Joemat-Pettersson says the new policy will help communities.

"We envisage that in the medium term, millions of rands will be created by small-scale fishers and these profits would cascade to coastal communities."