new podcast: South Africa’s small-scale fishers:  Defending their rights to ancestral lands and fishing areas

By Milica Prokic

A new special episode of the One Ocean Hub podcast dedicated to small-scale fishers has just been launched. Joined by Maria Honig (Coastal Communities Lead, World Wide Fund for Nature), Milica Prokic  had the honour and pleasure to meet and discuss with  small-scale fisher representatives from South Africa in person, as the episode was recorded (and filmed) in Cape Town during the Hub’s closing conference.

Milica spoke with Maria and five small-scale fisher representatives: Hilda Adams, chairperson of the Small-Scale Fisher Cooperative and the liaison person for the South African Fishers Collective from the town of Umra in Western Cape, Bradley Warner, fishers’ representative from Cape Town who is currently living in Saint Helena Bay, Randall Bentley from Eastern Cape, and Jerry Mngomezulu and John Peter Narayansamy from KwaZulu Natal (KZN) province.

Hilda Adams & Bradley Warner (Screenshot from podcast video)
Maria Honig (Coastal Communities Lead, World Wide Fund for Nature) & Milica Prokic in discussion (Screenshot from podcast video)

Coming from different coastal provinces of South Africa, the fishers discussed the struggles that unite them, including defending their fishing tenure rights and issues of access to their ancestral fishing areas as well as  key current challenges they face, such as continued discrimination and marginalisation stemming from the violent legacies of apartheid suffered by themselves, their families and communities. They also spoke about their tireless work on resisting and tackling these challenges, and the role of programmes and organisations such as One Ocean Hub and WWF in supporting fishers to fully realise their human rights.

John Peter Narayansamy & Jerry Mngomezulu (Screenshot from podcast video)

The fishers share stories relating to the lack of respect of Indigenous and local communities’ voices, the suppression of access rights to coastal resources (including their traditional fishing areas), unresolved coastal land claims, as well as  the challenges of being left out of fisheries governance processes. Maria Honig reflected on how the stories shared by the fishers will shape her key messages to the upcoming Small-Scale Fisheries Summit hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome (5-7 July 2024), highlighting the role of fishers as transdisciplinary partners bridging human rights advocacy from a local to global level.

Randall Bentley (Screenshot from podcast video)

The episode is now available online to listen here >> and watch here >>