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Creecy heads to court to set aside awarding small-scale fishing rights in WC

Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy's decision follows multiple complaints from small scale fishers about the fairness and accuracy of the process.

FILE: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy is going to court to set aside the process of awarding small-scale fishing rights in the Western Cape.

Creecy's decision on Monday follows multiple complaints from small scale fishers about the fairness and accuracy of the process.

An internal audit process was launched in 2019 and concluded that the verification process was 'wholly inadequate'.

The department said a number of steps would be taken to minimise the impact of the court application on fishing communities in the province.

Spokesperson Albi Modise said these included bringing the application as quickly as possible and prioritising the new verification process.

"The Minister will ask the court to order that whatever form of access to fish by communities and individual fishers have, should remain in place until the new verification process is completed."

The department is also exploring ways to improve the interim relief dispensation that will apply during the court application process.

Modise said approaching the court would cause a delay of at least another year in the granting of rights for some communities. But said a new process was the only way to ensure that rights were allocated fairly.

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