Snoek fishing will be allowed during lockdown: Barbara Creecy

03 April 2020 - 20:14 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Small-scale fishers rely on their seasonal catch to make a living.
Small-scale fishers rely on their seasonal catch to make a living.
Image: Georgia East

The snoek-fishing community in the Western and Northern Cape can breathe a sigh of relief after the government announced they would be allowed to take advantage of the snoek run despite the 21-day national lockdown.

Environment, forestry and fisheries minister Barbara Creecy announced that fishers are allowed to travel within and across the two provinces for the purposes of fishing.

She said that commercial, small-scale and interim-relief fishers in the two provinces would be allowed to take advantage of the snoek run. This refers to the snoek fishing season in the two coastal provinces.

“Fishers in the Northern Cape and Western Cape may travel within and across the province to catch snoek in what is known as Zone A. At all times, fishing teams must adhere to the prescribed hygiene provisions, such as sanitising of hands, and sanitising the insides of vehicles and equipment,” said Creecy.

She said fishers should also comply with the restriction on the number of passengers in vehicles.

“In compliance with the existing regulations, accommodation will not be opened in fishing villages and so fishermen will have to only concentrate in areas where they can move in and out within a single day.

“We understand that this might not be convenient but we are trying to ensure that during the snoek run, which is very important for household [food security] in the Western and the Northern Cape, people are able to benefit from it while at the same time observing the regulations,” said Creecy.

She said at all times fishers must carry their exemption permits. They are also barred from interacting with local communities and are only allowed to operate within the harbours, which are currently closed to the public.

Creecy said the commercial sector was prepared to buy, transport, process and market catches from small-scale and interim-relief fishers.