Implementation of Living Marine Resources Act


19 October 1999
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

19 October 1999


Documents handed out
Briefing by Dr Mayekiso on the Elements of a Transformation Strategy for the Marine Fisheries Sector (attached to end of minutes)


The Chairperson, Ms Gwen Mahlangu (ANC) opened the meeting with a short background to the Living Marine Resources Act (LMRA). Prior to the Act there had been lots of complaints on the running of the fishing industry in South Africa. Parliament and the Department had received written submissions. The Department started looking at new legislation, and after extensive consultation and debate, the LMRA was passed in 1998. The Act came into affect on the 1 September 1999. The committee was meeting to hear from the Department whether the Act was being implemented, and was solving the problems it had been created to deal with. Ms Mahlangu asked the departmental team to introduce themselves.

Dr Mayekiso introduced himself as the Chief Director for Marine and Coastal Management. Mr Williams identified his role as being in charge of developing criteria and guidelines for the industry and allocations. Mr De Villiers, the director of Support services, stated he was currently doubling up as the Acting Director of resource and economic development. Dr Van Zyl introduced himself as the Director of Coastal and Inshore Management. Mr Malan identified himself as being in charge of developing the coastal policy and the action plans to implement the policy.


Dr Mayekiso briefed the committee on the implementation of the Act. He noted that the MLRA had been promulgated in September this year. Some problems had been experienced on the allocation issue. The Act was however being implemented and was producing some results. He addressed the key elements of the transformation strategy:

The strategy operated under resource constraints. For sustainable utilisation of the resource, allocations can only be made within the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). The resource for any fishery may already be fully allocated, and the transfer of quotas from those previously in the industry to an equitable allocation needs to operate within this framework.

The transformation patterns have to deal with the current distorted resource allocation along the lines of large companies managed by mainly whites. Further, there is an uneven distribution between the coastal provinces.

The Department plans to promote equitable access through three methods. The first approach looks to encourage and force existing companies to change to being more reproductive. The second approach looks to allocate commercial rights to new entrants, which focus on small and medium enterprises. The third approach recognises the subsistence farmers including artisanal, informal and those dependant on the sea for their survival. A specific management strategy needs to be developed for the last group.

South Africa is lagging behind other countries in terms of mariculture. In the industry, large companies tend to dominate and smaller players need to be encouraged.

Development projects exist to expand into areas the Department has not been active in before. These include whale, great white shark, dolphin, turtle, bird, and whale shark watching, and scenic estuarine charters and subsistence fishing community Safaris. These projects encourage tourism as a marine resource, and are focusing on rural fishing communities.

The Department and industry are keen to establish long term rights as introduced in the Act. However, the industry has not arrived at that position yet, as the transformation and transitional issues still need to be dealt with.

A key issue is the enforcement of regulations. The old-fashioned law enforcement technique did not work that well. New options are being examined.

Dr Mayekiso took the committee through the department flow chart as it related to the Marine resources. At the top was the Minister, with the Director General and Deputy Director Generals below. Dr Mayekiso, the Chief Director of Coastal and Marine Management, followed. Under Dr Mayekiso were four directorates: Support Services, Economic and Resource Development, Coastal and Inshore resources, and Offshore Resources. The Fisheries Transformation Council (FTC) was an associated structure that reported directly to the Minister, as did the Consultative Advisory Forum (CAF).

The Committee was referred to Dr Mayekiso's presentation for the table outlining the Directorates priorities and strategic challenges.


Questions by members
Mr Holomisa (UDM) noted that after the transformation process had begun, fisher co-ops were advised to join together and register as the South African Fisher Commercial Holdings Company (SAFCHC), as the co-ops were not recognised as being eligible for quota allocation. Mr Holomisa had received numerous complaints by members of the SAFCHC that members were not benefiting at all, and only the professionals who headed up the company were benefiting. In response Mr Holomisa had written to the Director General, but had not even had an acknowledgement of receipt. He had therefore compiled a document outlining the complaints, and formally was handing it over the Dr Mayekiso. He hoped the Department would investigate, and report back to the Committee this year.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the fishers were advised to form a company. He has heard about the complaints of them not receiving benefits. He noted that the issue seemed to be an internal issue within the company if the directors were not distributing benefits. However, it was in the interest of the Department to create harmony within and between players in the industry. He would therefore investigate, but may not be able to solve the problem. The grouping consisted of roughly 3000 people, and resources allocated to the group may not be able to satisfy all. Therefore complaints against the leadership could result from there not being enough to distribute to all.

Mr September (ANC) wanted to know how the structures set up in the Act, the CAF and FTC, were performing. In addition, he would like more information on the security issues raised by the recent theft of perlemoen in Sea Point.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the CAF was constituted in October 1999, and was performing satisfactorily. The FTC had two responsibilities. The first was to allocate resources, and the second was to develop capacity and facilitate new entrants into the industry. On its formation, the FTC immediately got into the allocation issues. The allocations were then successfully challenged in court, and the FTC had to negotiate all allocations with the previous quota holders. Therefore the facilitation of new entrants role was only recently engaged with.

Dr Van Zyl from the Department noted the embarrassing situation where stolen perlemoen were stolen from the department at Sea Point. He explained that the thieves had gained access to the store room by breaking safety glass, knocking down two doors, broke through a heavy duty security gate using a blow torch, and broke two more doors before removing the padlock on the cold store door with bolt cutters. 1000ky of Abalone, valued at around R350000 had been stolen, mostly perlemoen that was evidence in poaching cases. As a result the installation of a security system has been approved, and will occur within the next few weeks.

Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) noted that small fishers were still striking, and that allocations was the key method in dealing with transformation. If the legislation is as good as it was being hailed as last year, why are there the numerous court cases delaying things.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the resource was finite, and that when allocation were reduced from those who have historically had access, and transferred to new entrants, the Minister was taken to court. The industry players were also always telling the Department of the job implications if quota's were taken away from industry. The Department still believed the legislation is good, but recognises that the companies will keep going to court as transformation is painful. The legal capacity of the Department needed to be boosted. A full time lawyer would soon be employed, and efforts were being made to access World Bank funds to have two part time legal consultants.

Ms Mbuyazi (IFP) requested more information on the development projects of the rural fishing areas.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the new projects the Department was looking into were mainly situated in rural fishing villages.

Mr Holomisa (UDM) asked whether Dr Mayekiso would be able to brief the committee on the following day on the history of the South African Fishers Commercial holding Company, and the data on the quota's given to them so far.

Mr September requested clarity on the issue, as he had thought that co-ops were a better option to a company in terms of allowing distribution.

Ms Ramotsamai asked whether the Department was ready to supply the committee with the department's allocation plans for the year.

The Chair asked for further information on the capacity building of the department in terms of new entrants. Further, she asked whether there were any patterns emerging in terms of taking allocations from those who have, and providing to new entrants. She asked whether the companies had been taken on board in the process.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the FTC is responsible for capacity building. The FTC has until now been occupied with allocations. The White Paper identified a Capacity Building Unit, which would be set up by early 2000.

Mr Moss (ANC) noted that the Act's objectives state the need to restructure the industry, and asked what plans had been put up to implement this objective.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the broad strategy of the Department takes into account the realities of the situation. Due to the resources required for offshore fishing, the transformation process focussed on inshore fishing, and the allocations were informed by this policy.

Ms Van de Merwe noted that in drafting the Act, the Committee had spent much time and effort in looking at allocations. To aid allocations, the Act stated that allocations had to be done based on criteria created by the Minister. She asked for an update on the criteria. Further, she noted that she had had complaints on the complexity and confusion relating to the applications.

Dr Mayekiso replied that the Minister had approved criteria the previous year. The FTC in deciding on allocations had used the criteria. The applications needed to be sufficiently detailed to allow the allocations to be made on informed decisions. Therefore the applications were not always simple to fill in, and a balance had to be made.

Ms Semple (DP) asked what percentage of the allocations were going to foreign companies.

Dr Mayekiso responded saying that the only foreign fleets in South Africa were those of Japan and Taiwan, which caught migratory tuna under a bilateral agreement with South Africa. In additional, 1000 tons of hake were allocated to Mozambique. No foreign companies were given a catch in South Africa, as the Act states that only South Africans were entitled to receive allocations. A few cases had been discovered where allocations had been given to individuals who were not South African citizens.

Ms Mbuyazi (IFP) asked how the distribution could be improved between the coastal provinces.

Mr Opperman asked for an explanation of how new entrants into the industry were being considered when the industry was struggling as it was.

Mr September stated that he was not convinced that there was a Western Cape dominance in the industry. While the Western Cape may have the most people involved, people sitting in Gauteng owned the largest corporation.

Ms Ramotsamai asked what solution could be found to stop the Department continually being taken to court over transformation. How could the situation be avoided? For example, is new legislation needed or amendments to the Act? Where is the process going wrong?

Dr Mayekiso needed to leave and was unable to answer all the questions.


Control and enforcement issues
Dr Van Zyl proceeded to brief the Committee on control and enforcement issues. He noted that if there was no compliance with the regulations, sustainable utilisation would not be possible. Due to financial constraints, there were a limited number of Fisheries Control Officers (FTOs). The former Transkei and Ciskei were not covered, and posts for the areas had been advertised. Staff at the Kwazulu Natal Conservation Services and Eastern Cape Conservation Services had been appointed FTOs. The Western Cape Nature Conservation had put in a request to have its staff appointed as FTOs.

The honorary FTO scheme was being reviewed. A two tiered structure was being proposed, with the first tier being for members of the public who would act as the eyes and ears of the Department, informing the Department of anything suspicious. The second tier was for people who would be more involved, being empowered to act on poaching situations. In addition, co-operative management strategies with communities were at an advanced stage in some pilot projects, such as at Hawston.

All FTOs would need to be trained, and a committee had been set up to look at training issues. As a result, a National Diploma in Marine Conservation was being introduced, and various shorter training courses would be held jointly by the South Africa Police Services at the training grounds in Paarl.


Comments and questions by members
Dr Van Zyl noted with concern that some successful enforcement projects, such as Operation Neptune, were shut down due to lack of funding. After meeting with the relevant local, provincial and national police and department personnel, a proposal was being made to the Minister of Justice to include the Operation as part of the National Anti Crime strategy.

Mr Moss asked with respect to the 120 department inspectors, what the composition of the inspectors was in terms of race and gender. Further, he asked whether there were any deep sea inspectors.

Dr Van Zyl replied that there were female inspectors, however he did not have a breakdown available. All posts since 1994 had been filled with the affirmative action policy of government in mind. The off shore unit had 25 inspectors. The inspectors were placed on vessels such as the naval vessels and the maritime vessels. A satellite monitoring system was being implemented to track all offshore fishing vessels. The activities of the vessels could be deduced from their movements on the satellite tracking system.

The low morale of the enforcement officers was a concern, and ways were being looked at to install pride in the job.

These minutes have been supplied by Contact

Appendix 1







3.1. Point of departure

3.2. Equitable access to marine living resources - broadening of industry participation

The first approach is the transformation of existing fishing companies.

The second approach is the allocations of commercial fishing rights to new entrants,

The third approach is to recognise "subsistence fishing"









  • Provide decision makers with best available management advice
  • Optimize benefits derived from marine and coastal resource utilisation
  • Develop resources and broaden participatory access
  • Uncertainty: solution- resources, improve scientific co-operation
  • Finiteness, capacity (little socio-economic inputs): - solution: training, community interactions, new directorate
  • Finiteness- solutions: sector development

    • Optimize effective compliance with management measures
    • Create public awareness
  • Capacity: solution- training, partnerships, outsourcing
  • Legitimacy: solution- policy formulation, representivity, training

    • Encourage transparency, accountability and adaptability
  • Old Paradigm: solution- revision of procedures and systems







    • Optimize benefits derived from marine and coastal resource utilization.
    • Promote non-consumptive use
    • Promote mariculture
    • Advise on the development of under-utilised or new marine living and coastal resources.
  • Market forces/economy: solution- new directorate
  • Current emphasis on biology: solution- socio-economic input
  • Determination of effects, optimization of opportunity: solution- research
  • Techno-econo-biological: solution- research

    • Develop expertise
  • Capacity (coastal): solution- partnerships
  • Capacity (organisational): solution- popularize marine science training in South Africa and internationally.

    • Develop ecosystem approaches
  • Complexity: solution- ecosystem research and knowledge



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