Fighting for reef fishes
Tension is inherent at every level of South Africa’s line fishery where,
as resources dwindle, stakeholders become increasingly territorial over their piece of the pie, with negative repercussions for both marine life and people.
My conversations with fishermen confirmed these gloomy impressions. Not only are they are struggling to catch enough fish, but questionable government quota systems have meant that many line-fish boats no longer have licences. Crews live with the relentless uncertainty of how much longer they will be able to go to sea. Jacob Andrews is desperate for an alternative. He says he would even be prepared to clean harbours or beaches if the government provided a grant to keep fishermen off the water so that fish stocks could recover. Even Jacob Saunders, whose father was a fisherman for 47 years, does not want his children to fish.