Perceptions of history and policy in the Cape Agulhas Area: could history influence policy on small-scale fishing?
Dennis, Tracey Lee
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The principle aim of this study was to gain insights into the perceptions of the people living in the Cape Agulhas Area of South Africa on the issues of small-scale fishing and the historical claims to fishing rights of the communities living in the fishing villages of Struisbaai and Waenhuiskrans. A further aim was to identify the gap between knowledge and the implementation of fishing rights policies by analysing existing policies on small-scale fishing and thereby identifying possible lessons and guidelines for policy formulation. Key focus areas were the historical recollections of people, their knowledge of past, current and proposed fishing legislation and their opinions, recommendations and guidelines regarding new and proposed policies. A qualitative framework was used for this study, using key informants and the taking of life histories. The two fishing communities served as case studies and life histories were documented using semi-structured interviews. The study drew on previous research in historical practices and indigenous knowledge systems and special attention was given to scientific and archaeological research. The policy processes from 1994 to the present were described and themes were identified in the literature and the life histories. The study found that many of the methods used in earlier years is still used today, passed over from generation to generation.