Court lifts suspension on hake fishing
Publish date: 11 July 2017
Issue Number: 515
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
The Western Cape High Court last week lifted an interdict preventing existing and new entrants from operating in the Hake Inshore Trawl sector, says a Fin24 report. In January, Judge Lee Bozalek made an interim ruling after an application had been submitted by Viking Inshore Fishing, which was unhappy about the new quotas which came into effect at the beginning of 2017. In its application, Viking sought the total suspension of hake fishing rights until an internal appeals process for fishing rights had been concluded and Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwane had taken a final decision regarding the quotas. The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries said the application to interdict the granting of fishing rights to previously disadvantaged new entrants had been dismissed with costs. ‘The court held that the department explained fully the entire allocation process (of fishing rights),’ it said.
Viking Fishing is considering closing its fish processing factory in Mossel Bay with the loss of 179 jobs after it lost its court bid to halt the allocation of hake quotas to small-scale fishers. A Cape Argus report quotes Time Reddell, a representative from Viking, who said: ‘We note and recognise the decision by the Western Cape High Court. We haven’t digested the judgments properly.’ He also said the judgment raised the question of whether its processing factory shuts its doors or not. ‘It’s too early to comment on the loss for the company. It’s a question whether to close down our factory in Mossel Bay or not,’ Reddell said, according to the report. The court’s decision has been welcomed by the ANC fishing desk. ‘I think this is the first time in 23 years that we have won a case and this is a step in the right direction,’ Harry Mentor from the ANC fishing desk said. He added that the judgment broadens the possibility of transformation in the fishing industry. ‘I think transformation is great… it will especially get rid of all the corruption in the industry.’ The department has labelled this as a victory. ‘This is a victory for both the department and small fishing companies who have been prevented from operating in the sector for the past six months,’ the deputy DG of Fisheries, Siphokazi Ndudane, said. The order made it clear that the entire process was reasonable.