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Marine Resources

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA

Fishing rights and permits

The Marine Living Resources Act was passed in 1998 to protect natural marine living resources. It does this by regulating fishing.

The Act also tries to regulate who has access to marine resources to ensure that these resources are fairly distributed.

The law says that you need to pay for the right to exploit marine resources. Money collected through licences and permits are used for research and marine protection programmes.

The following controls have been put in place: everyone who uses marine resources must have a permit, including recreational and subsistence fishers; some fish species are protected by a quota system which prevents people from catching or attempting to catch more than a certain amount of the fish; and certain species can only be fished in open season.

In 2000 an emergency was declared in the line fishing industry because of the collapse of a number of line fish stocks. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism declared that the number of vessels and crew would be limited. Commercial fishing rights were allocated to full - time line fishers who depend on line fishing for their livelihood. The allocations resulted in 376 fishing rights (2148 crew) being granted. In total fishing rights will be allocated to no more than 450 vessels and 3450 crew.

Employers in the line fishing industry are now required to adhere to labour laws and provide security for line fishers.

Rights holders are entitled to catch snoek wit hout restriction and numerous other species of line fish, most subject to stringent bag limitations.

After further investigation and consultations, exemptions will be granted to vessels historically associated with traditional fishing villages to fish for line fish.

Recreational and shore based line fishing is regulated by "bag limits" which prevent people from catching too many fish.

All recreational fishers are required to get recreational fishing permits. You can get these permits from Post Offices countrywide at a cost of R76 for angling permits. All other permit costs would have to be confirmed.

Permits are valid for a year, except for permits for species that can only be caught during season (these expire at the end of the season).

You should always carry your permit and your identity document with you when you are fishing.

You cannot sell fish caught under a recreational fishing permit.

Date: 24th June 2014
Legislation: Marine Living Resources Act, 18 of 1998

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