17 Apr 2010
This video presented by the Centre for Civil Society highlights the plight of subsistence fishermen in Durban who's rights have been systematically eroded as a result of poor marine and coastal management in South Africa.
The 17-minute feature provides valuable testimony from fishermen about how government policies prejudice them and threaten their livelihoods while allowing big fishing companies to overfish the sea, leading to environmental degradation in the process.
If the state is serious about working for the people then it must prioritise assisting people to care for themselves. Access to natural resources - land, sea, fish, food, etc. are increasingly difficult to gain or maintain for the majority of the people. Instead of assisting them the state all too often gets in the way of people helping themselves to help themselves. The subsistence fishers around our coasts are a prime example of the state wasting resources in stopping people feeding themselves and their families with good, healthy protein and instead criminalising them. And these are people who dont even have to be taught to fish, to feed themselves for life.
The fishermen of KZN should take note of the court ruling handed down last year where the state has been forced to recognise subsistence fishers and to grant them access to resourcs, without delay.
As for the increasing privatisation of the Durban beachfront and harbour, the Municipality and its political overseers should hang their collective heads in shame.