Assessing the contribution of interim relief measures to food security and income of small-scale fishers of Ocean View, Western Cape

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

ABSTRACT The overall aim of this study is to understand the contribution made by small-scale fisheries to food security and income of fisher households. The study also investigated the characteristics of Ocean View small-scale fishers and their dependence to marine resources for food and livelihood. The study further examined the international and regional instruments as well as domestic legislations managing small-scale fisheries and promoting food security and fishers' participation in management and decision-making. The study focused only on interim relief permit holders from Ocean View. Data were collected by means of literature review of research papers, government documents and reports as well as articles in the press. Group discussions and semi-structured interviews were held with Ocean View interim relief permit holders to assess fish consumption patterns, income earned from fishing, fishing nature, participation in management and decision-making to document fisher perceptions on management of resources they harvest. Informal discussions were also held with key informants from the community. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism introduced interim relief measures in 2007 and consequently 2008 for traditional small-scale fishers who hold no fishing rights to harvest marine resources for household consumption as well as to sell their catch. Based on the study findings, IRMs contributed significantly to fisher household food and livelihood needs particularly, during the period when fishers were harvesting both West Coast Rock Lobster and line fish species of snoek and hottentot. The consumption of fish increased significantly in fisher households as fish was the most consumed meat protein in the households. The study also showed that households with limited sources of income were selling a large proportion of their line fish catch compared to better-off households. Although there was a positive contribution by IRMs, there is a concern about the sustainability of the harvested resources during inconsistent monitoring and enforcement by officials. Furthermore, the study showed that management decisions on marine resources in South Africa are still centralised and rely mostly on scientific inputs as the rights and livelihood needs of small-scale fishers are seldom considered in decision-making. The study further indicated that participation of fishers in management and decision-making is lacking due to little interest shown by government officials. ii In conclusion, this study highlights the need to adopt an integrated and inclusive approach to small-scale fisheries management and ensuring that livelihood needs of small-scale fishers are taken into consideration to enhance and sustain their food and livelihoods.