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Fishing industry warns of consequences if govt blunders rights allocations

With annual sales of R4.5 billion, deep-sea hake fishing accounts for 45% of the entire commercial fishing industry contributing about R6.7 billion to the economy.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Fishing companies that catch hake for the local and international markets have warned if government blunders during the allocation of the rights process, the industry will be placed in jeopardy.

With annual sales of R4.5 billion, deep-sea hake fishing accounts for 45% of the entire commercial fishing industry contributing about R6.7 billion to the economy.

Long-term rights for commercial fisheries will be allocated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries next year.

The concern by members of the industry comes on the back of the highly controversial rights allocation processes in 2013 and 2016.

This saw businesses in prolonged litigation with government while others closed their doors; thousands of workers were left jobless.

Chairman of the South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association Terence Brown said policy talks to be held with government next month are crucial.

The government announced last year that it would be reviewing general policy on the allocation and management of commercial fishing rights, the transfer of commercial rights and operating rights for fish processing establishments.

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