Fish in the life of Kalk Bay – Examining how fisheries policies are affecting the access to fish for the food security of the fishing community of Kalk Bay
This thesis examines how recent South African government fisheries policies have affected the livelihoods and food security of small-scale fishers, using the Kalk Bay fishing community in Cape Town, South Africa, as a case study. Fish has for generations provided food security for the fishers of Kalk Bay and their families. This food security has been both through catching fish for direct consumption and selling fish for income. Fish is an excellent source of nutrition, supplying easily digestible protein, as well as vital macro and micro nutrients essential for development and growth, thereby providing nutritional security. In South Africa, the right to food has been identified by the South African government as a primary policy objective. The Constitution of South Africa also guarantees access to food for citizens of the country primarily through providing access to food sources and livelihoods. This mini-thesis argues that despite the stated objectives of the government, the development and implementation of policy in the fisheries sector has not supported the right to food. Research was conducted through in-depth interviews with government representatives, fishing activists and fishers with a direct interest in Kalk Bay, as well as a survey completed in the Kalk Bay fishing community. The findings were examined through a sustainable livelihoods perspective, with a focus on access rights as a necessity to access livelihoods. The results clearly indicate that households in Kalk Bay who have traditionally pursued livelihoods and food security through fishing are often no longer able to do so. Small-scale fishers were completely omitted from the Marine Living Resources Act of 1998. This has resulted in the removal of access rights to marine resources which has led to these traditional fishers no longer being able to access their historical livelihoods and provide food security. These fishers have experienced further disenfranchisement from policies that were promised to empower the citizens of South Africa at the beginning of the new democracy in South Africa. As a result of a loss of access to livelihoods, small-scale fishers in South Africa launched a class action against the government. This legal action was won by the fishers and a judgement was given that the government was to amend the Marine Living Resources Act (1998), and a fisheries policy ensuring the inclusion of small-scale fishers was to be written. This thesis also addresses the attitudes towards and challenges of the newly adopted “Policy for small-scale fisheries in South Africa” of the fishing community of Kalk Bay. The evidence suggests that although small-scale fishers are now included, there are still notable challenges that could derail its successful implementation. A key challenge is the uncertainty by any parties about the quantity and value of marine resources to be allocated to the small-scale sector. It is unclear how much, if any, of the allocation is coming from the large scale industrial sector. This could result in continued challenges to the small-scale sector in terms of being able to access livelihoods and maintain food security.