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Issue No:62
  • :0973-1121
  • :July
  • :2012
  • :English

 It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin,
creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the
whistling buouy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little
world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom
becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals.

—from Cannery Row by John Steinbeck


South Africa : Fishing Rights

Living Off the Land

A case regarding the customary rights of fishermen in the Dwesa-Cwebe Marine Protected Area of South Africa could be a landmark

This article has been written by Jackie Sunde (, a researcher based at the Environmental Evaluation Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa. David Gongqose and the co-accused were represented by the Legal Resource Centre legal team comprising advocate Jason Brickhill, instructing attorney Wilmien Wicomb and Henk Smith

David Gongqose is a fisherman from a remote coastal community on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. On 22 September 2010, David and two other fishers from his community were arrested in the Dwesa-Cwebe Marine Protected Area (MPA) and charged with attempting to fish in the MPA. David and his companions argued that they had a customary right to fish in this reserve as it comprised their ancestral lands. David’s father had taught him to fish according to the customary system that he himself had inherited from his father. David further noted that on the night in question, he had been fishing in order to put food on the table and to purchase mourning clothes for his mother as his father had recently died and David was now the sole provider for his family....



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