Fisheries Dept says protests in Hout Bay over quotas are premature

Hangberg Residents launched violent demonstrations this week over fishing quotas.

Police nyalas are driving into the Hangberg community in Hout Bay as protesters continue to throw rocks and stones at authorities. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Fisheries Department says protests in Hout Bay over quotas are premature because the allocation process is not complete.

Hangberg Residents launched violent demonstrations this week.

Two Metro Police officers and a teenage boy were wounded in clashes, which have continued today.

Deputy director general for fisheries management Siphokazi Ndudane says the protests arose after the department announced a proposal that the total allowable catch of West Coast rock lobster be reduced.

“When we allocate fishing rights, we set how much can be taken out of the water every fishing season. So before we announce the amount to be taken out, there is a proposal that gets put on the table.”

Ndudane says it is merely a recommendation at this stage.

“The previous fishing season there was a proposal to cut by 34%, it was consulted with them, there was no problem. And the final decision - there was no cut. So even this time, the consultation is 69% to cut and they know the final decision may be not to cut anything.”

Ndudane says no final decisions have been made and claims fishing communities are aware of the process.