South Africa’s second quarter 2010 unemployment rate is 25.3%, The government promotes the production of food gardens, the transfer of skills, and is encouraging the development of small scale farmers. The burden of putting food in the mouths of its people is an issue that is not going away any time soon.
Yet, The City of Durban has restricted the access of fishermen to deep water piers along it’s beach front, and the Durban Port authorities have restricted access to the water in and around the port. Durban’s subsistence fishermen have fished both these waters for generations, these people have an inconsistent income at best and it has been the skills passed down from their grandfathers that has consistently put food on their tables.
The city is promoting the city as a tourist venue of choice, it seems that the fishermen do not fit into this profile, and the port authorities talk of security risks and the national key point act.
These people are not recreational fishermen that go out on the weekends for a bit of stress relief. These fishermen will be found making ends meet every day and night depending on the conditions of the sea.
The subsistence fishermen realise that the sea is the source of their lively hood, they pay their fishing licences, they understand the sea and teach the younger men that to protect the piers is to ensure their future.
The economic woes of South Africa will not just end, “fishing is the only thing left” says Fog who has put his kids through school with his fishing skills. The access to viable fishing piers is not being resolved, meetings are arraigned between the fishermen and the authorities, and still the authorities do not come.
The hunger will not go away and because of this the fishermen will find a way to continue catching their fish where ever they are able.
12 years have past and still Durban’s subsistence fishermen battle to access good fishing waters around Durban.