More than 10 000 food parcels will be delivered to distressed small-scale and interim relief fishers across the country.
In a partnership between the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, FishSA, major fishing corporations and the SA Fishing Development fund, registered small-scale fishers in the Cape Town Metro, West Coast, and Northern Cape will receive the parcels from Monday.
During the next week, registered small-scale fishers in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will receive parcels.
Around 1 500 parcels have already been distributed to assist fishers in the Overberg Region and Southern Cape.
Small-scale fishing communities in the Western Cape were initially hard hit in January and February this year during the Covid-19 pandemic in China, when restaurants closed and fishers were unable to sell abalone and West Coast rock lobster to their traditional markets.
Consequently, some sections of the fishing industry have felt the impact of the coronavirus longer than other sectors of the economy.
Although fishing has been declared an essential service, the closure of domestic restaurants has hit small-scale fishers hard and many struggle to find a market for their catch.
Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy said: “The generosity of Fish SA, the SA Fishing Development Fund, as well as several large-scale commercial fishing companies, has made this possible and I want to thank them for taking the initiative to help thousands of families in distress.”
The Department has implemented various measures to support the fishing industry, including extending permits and fishing seasons, as well as exemptions from lockdown and travel restrictions.