About the fishing rights allocation process (FRAP)


introduction -the beginning
Aims of FRAP
FRAP step by step
FRAP public notices
Appeals and GPR for decision to appeal



Introduction / background


The transformation of the South African fishing industry is a constitutional and legislative imperative. The legal instrument that promotes the transformation of the South African fishing industry is the Marine Living Resources Act, Act No. 18 of 1998 (the “MLRA”). The transformation of the fishing industry is achieved through the fishing rights allocation process (FRAP) and the management of commercial fishing rights. The framework for the allocation of the fishing rights is the General Policy on the Allocation of Fishing Rights as well as the sector specific fisheries policies that are reviewed and adopted every time new rights are allocated.

In 2005/2006, long-term commercial fishing rights were allocated in terms of section 18 of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act. No 18 of 1998) (MLRA) in 22 commercial fisheries sectors for periods ranging from 8, 10 and 15 years. Rights that were allocated for 8 years expired in 8 of the fishing sectors on 31 of December 2013. On 30 December 2013, the Department re-allocated long-term commercial fishing rights in all eight fishing sectors in which rights were expiring and these fishing rights were allocated for a new period of 8 years and were to expire on or before the 31 of December 2020. Rights that were allocated for a period of 10 years expired in 10 of the fishing sectors at various times during 2015. The Department finalised the allocation of fishing right in 9 out of the 10 commercial sectors where rights expired at various times during 2015 (excluding abalone, which was not finalised).  These rights were allocated for a period of 15 years and will therefore will not form part of the 2020 allocation process. Recently, commercial rights have also expired on the 31 of December 2020 in 4 sectors allocated in 2005 for 15-years and those allocated in 2013 for a 7-year period.


Aims / objectives


  • Achieve optimum utilisation and ecologically sustainable development of marine living resources
  • Conserve marine living resources for both present and future generations
  • Apply precautionary approaches in respect of the management and development of marine living resources
  • Utilise marine living resources to achieve economic growth, human resource development, capacity building within fisheries and mariculture branches, employment creation and a sound ecological balance consistent with the development objectives of the national government
  • Protect the ecosystem as a whole, including species not targeted for exploitation
  • Preserve marine biodiversity
  • Minimise marine pollution
  • Achieve, to the extent practicable, broad and accountable participation in the decision-making processes provided for in the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act No. 18 of 1998)
  • Give effect to any relevant obligation of the national government or the republic in terms of any international agreement or applicable rule of international law
  • Restructure the fishing industry to address historical imbalances and to achieve equity within all branches of the fishing industry
  • Promote equitable access to and involvement in all aspects of the fishing industry, and, take note of past prejudice against women and other marginalised groups
  • Recognise approaches to fisheries management which contribute to food security, socio-economic development, and the alleviation of poverty; and
  • Recognise that marine living resources may be allocated through a multi-species approach.


FRAP step by step


  1. Minister announces in the government gazette the commencement of the commercial fishing rights allocation process. This is followed by the appointment of nominated senior officials in the department as delegated authorities by the minister to allocate fishing rights in identified fishing sectors (“the delegated authority”).
  2. The delegated authority(ies) appoints assessment panels for each sector being reallocated. The panel comprises multidisciplinary experts in the field of fisheries management, fisheries research and fisheries compliance. Additional members may be co-opted depending on the fishery being allocated and the subject matter being discussed.
  3. The minister announce in the government gazette, the call for commercial fishing rights applications. Application forms and policy guidelines are made available in various form as per the announcement.
  4. Applications are submitted to the department in a manner that is prescribed, and an application fee accompanies each application. The department receives a file and store applications, and verifies the information supplied by applicants.
  5. The appointed assessment panel assess each application:
    1. An assessment criterion is developed primarily based on the information contained in the application form. Criteria varies per fishing sector.
    2. Each application is scored according to predetermined criteria.
    3. Legal advice is sought for ‘complicated’ or ‘border line cases’ or applicants that warrant further investigation prior to decision making.
    4. Recommendations are provided to the delegated authority.
  6. The delegated authority considers the recommendations, decide on who to allocate commercial fishing rights, and record his/her decision.
  7. Quantum and/or effort is allocated to each successful applicant depending on the fishery.
  8. The record of decision (general published reasons) is made available to applicants and in a prescribed manner.
  9. Successful applicants are then required to pay the grant of right fee prior to applying for fishing permits and licenses.
  10. On issuance of the record of decision (general published reasons), any affected person may appeal to the minister against a decision taken by the delegated authority in terms of section 80 of the MLRA in a manner prescribed by the prescribed by the minister.


FRAP sectors for allocation


  1. Demersal shark
  2. Hake deep-sea trawl
  3. Hake handline
  4. Hake long-line
  5. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) crustacean trawl
  6. Oysters
  7. Small pelagic (anchovy)
  8. Small pelagic (sardine)
  9. South coast rock lobster
  10. Squid
  11. Traditional line fish
  12. Tuna pole-line
  13. White mussels


FRAP enquiries
021 402 3727

FRAP email address 

Fisheries management

[back to top]