Rollout of Western Cape small-scale fishing rights : re-run of the 2016 process

Event date: 
2022-09-05 00:15 to 2022-09-30 23:45

introduction -the beginning introduction -the beginning introduction -the beginning
Introduction and
Purpose and objectives
Time tables / schedule of events



Update on the distribution process, catch-all week and extension for receipting process of the new Western Cape small-scale fisheries rights allocation process, 16 November 2022

Following a two-week community mobilisation process in Western Cape communities, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has agreed to give fishing communities until the end of November 2022 to complete their verification forms for the small-scale fisheries’ rights allocation process in the Western Cape. The verification process is only open to those community members that participated in the initial Western Cape small-scale fisheries’ rights allocation process in 2016. In total, 67% of verification forms were issued to previous participants during the two weeks of distribution.

For the purposes of this process, the Western Cape was divided into four regions, which consist of the Cape MetroWest CoastSouth Coast (Overberg) and Southern Cape (Garden Route).


Introduction and background


The Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) facilliated the roll out of the Western Cape small scale fishing (SSF) rights to Western Cape fishers from September 2022. In preparation for the new process, the DFFE placed more emphasis on regular community mobilisation and ongoing communication between communities and the DFFE. The DFFE also appointed an independent implementing service provider as well as an observer forum to promote neutrality, transparency, and fairness in the entire process; and there was direct involvement of community-based organisations (CBOs) throughout the process in a dedicated platform.

The entire process followed as below:

  • Mobilisation in fishing communities
  • Distribution of verification forms
  • Receiving verification forms
  • Registration and verification
  • Announcement of the provisional list
  • Appeals and declaration of the final list and;
  • Registration of small-scale fishing co-operatives and rights allocation.

Various species were already set aside for the SSF sector and some have already been allocated to the existing SSF co-operatives in other coastal provinces.


Purpose and ojectives of the Western Cape small-scale fishing rights allocation

Following the declaration of Small-Scale fishers in the Western Cape in 2016, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), Ms Barbara Creecy and the department received several complaints from fishing communities about the fairness and accuracy of the process followed.

The department then decided to launch an audit on the entire process followed in verifying and recognising small-scale fishers in the Western Cape. The audit findings concluded that the verification process was wholly inadequate, and that the results of the assessments cannot and should not be relied on for any decision-making purpose in terms of the regulations.

Based on the results of the audit report and legal advice, the minister made an application to the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the process of registration, verification, and declaration of small-scale fishers in the Western Cape.

On 31 August 2022, the court reviewed and set aside the 2016 verification, registration, declarations and rights allocations process  as per the minister's request. The court judgement ordered that the applications which were made for the verification and confirmation of small-scale fishers and communities in the Western Cape be remitted to the DFFE and the minister for decision.

Considering the court judgement, the department intends to re-run the verification, registration, and declaration of small-scale fishers for all persons that participated in the previous process and ultimately allocate rights to the small-scale fishing sector. Pending the outcome of the envisaged new and revised verification and recognition process, access to fishing by persons who were declared small- scale fishers under the previous process and those fishing under the Interim relief dispensation will remain.

The revised process as guided by the recommendations of the audit report of the previous process is based on promoting transparency and fairness and it will follow the steps below:

  1. Communication and community mobilisation
  2. Explanation and distribution of verification forms in fishing communities
  3. Collection of verification forms from fishing communities
  4. Announcing the provisional lists in fishing communities
  5. Assisting communities with their appeals of the provisional lists
  6. ​Co-operative registration and rights allocation

The process will only be open to fishers that previously participated in the original verification process in 2016. To confirm eligibility to participate in this process, community members can visit their nearest Fishery Control Office or the departments offices in the Foretrust Building from 12 September 2022 or contact the dedicated call centre line on 021 402 3614.

In preparation for the process, eligible community members are encouraged to ensure that they have their original identity documents (ID) with them and look out for the posters that will be put up in all identified communities from 12 September 2022, which will outline all other required documents. The department will also make available “sample verification forms” during the mobilisation process, for community members to familiarise themselves with the verification form.


Documents to download



Schedule of consultations



September 2022 rollout of Western Cape small-scale fishing rights: re-run of the 2016 process:


Western cape regions

Cape metro region [PDF - 215 kb]

South coast region [PDF - 207 kb]

West coast region [PDF - 2223 kb]

Southern Cape (Garden Route) region [PDF - 210.18 kb]

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)  [PDF - 487.06 kb]
Guidance and explanation notes for small-scale fishers [PDF – 1.04 mb]


For more information

Visit or contact the nearest DFFE fishery Control Office or/
Alternatively, contact Call Centre:
Tel: 021 402 3614