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Zokwana: Fishing quota freeze ‘to hit small & black owned companies hard’

The Western Cape High Court has temporarily put a freeze on hake fishing quotas.

FILE: Fishing boats in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

PARLIAMENT - Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has warned that smaller and black-owned companies will suffer the most as the Western Cape High Court has temporarily put a freeze on hake fishing quotas.

Zokwana briefed reporters in Parliament on Friday on the high court order suspending hake and sole fishing.

The Viking Fishing Group, one of the largest companies in the sector, took the department to court challenging the reduction in its allocation.

Twenty-seven fishing rights holders should have begun work on New Year's day but because of the court order, the R300 million a year process has been halted.

Zokwana says the suspension could last for months depending on when the review application is decided.

“It’s particularly damaging to the empowerment of medium-sized, black-owned business who have been granted rights in this fishery and expecting to commence fishing now.”

Zokwana adds that on the other hand, Viking is not exclusively reliant on hake and sole.

He's also questioned the merits of the ruling, saying the court should have not granted the order because the company had not exhausted all internal appeals processes.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)