Poverty Mosaics: Realities and Prospects in Small-Scale Fisheries

pp 359-382


Creating Action Space: Small-Scale Fisheries Policy Reform in South Africa

  • Moenieba IsaacsAffiliated withInstitute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape Email author 

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The main argument of this chapter centers on whether formalizing governance processes and drafting a small-scale fisheries policy will decrease vulnerability and improve the livelihoods of small-scale fishers. Findings suggest that with no one organization representing fishers in the communities of Struisbaai and Arniston along the southern coast of South Africa, the space is wide open for the elite (rights holders) to capture the benefits. The inability to access rights through formal channels has forced a situation where many fishers resort to poaching, even within the marine protected areas (MPAs). The analytical framework draws on concepts related to the institutional dimensions of fisheries governance; the formal and informal action space for developing a new small-scale fisheries policy for South Africa; and the vulnerability of fishers with weak agency. Data were collected mainly through qualitative methods from key informants, focus group interviews, household interviews, and participatory observations at the local community level.