Undertaken under the Fishing Cluster Project, an incubation programme driven by the department of trade and industry (DTI), the latest contribution was handed over by the minister of trade and industry Rob Davies.
The department said the small scale fisheries of the West Coast region were now poised for economic revitalisation with on the back of DTI’s support that now adds up to more than R11million.
Davies said the main goal of the Fishing Cluster Project is to create a viable and sustainable fisheries industry by putting in place a comprehensive package of support measures in order to create jobs and income generating opportunities.
The cooperatives are part of the Fishing Cluster Project which is based on the study that was commissioned by the department for the support of the small scale fisheries. “Thus far we have funded 39 co-operatives to the tune of more than R11m,” said Davies.
He added that the provision has enabled the co-operatives to have the much needed asset and capital base to begin trading competitively on the cost and quality of their daily catch.
“The boats that we are handing over today can enable this community to generate R1.8 million in a year. We want communities to be able to provide for their families and communities. Our aim with such projects is also intended to broaden the participation of small scale fishing communities to higher commercial value activities in the value chain” added Davies.
The chairperson of Sinethemba Fishing, Mancaeta said the boats that they were using before were not safe to go deeper into the sea, and could not carry more people. “Our lives are now safe with this new boat, we will now go deeper into the sea and catch more fish” he added.
Mancaeta promised that they will work harder to grow the industry and wished more fishermen could get permits to fish, as it was their mission.
Davies also stated that another purpose of the Fishing Cluster Project is to assist small businesses, in the form of co-operatives / small scale fishers, to achieve their maximum productivity in the commercial fishing sector through well-defined value chain clusters.
Further technical services, such as regulatory and compliance issues are facilitated by the department of agriculture forestry and fisheries through the implementation of the Small Scale Fishing Policy.