COVID-19: Owners of fishing permits due for renewal to get grace period

Fisheries and forestry are two of the sectors declared exempt from the national lockdown starting at midnight on Thursday due to the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19).

FILE: Fishing boats in Cape Town. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The government is from Tuesday granting a three-month exemption for owners of fishing rights that are up for renewal so they don’t have to come into contact with officials.

Fisheries and forestry are two of the sectors declared exempt from the national lockdown starting at midnight on Thursday due to the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19).

Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy said national parks, botanical gardens, and the Tshwane Zoo would still be serviced while they are closed.

The minister outlined her department’s plans for the lockdown at a briefing on Tuesday. She said the fishing sector was crucial to South Africa’s food security.

Creecy said owners of fishing permits due for renewal would get a grace period.

“We are granting from today a three-month exemption for the renewal of all of those permits so that operators are not forced to come into our offices or to have to come into contact with our staff,” she said.

The need for the provision would be reviewed after the three months is up. Forestry services were also exempt, and fire-fighting services would remain in place.

Creecy said support for municipal waste management, including toxic waste, would continue as would forecasting by the South African Weather Service.

The 19 national parks and botanical gardens would be closed, but Creecy said ranger services and anti-poaching units would still operate while animals in the Tshwane Zoo would be cared for.

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