Subsistence fishing as a response to the management of living marine resources on public spaces in Durban, South Africa
Cele, Nokuthula P.
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This paper sought to analyze the role of subsistence fishing in effective natural resource management. Subsistence fishers are a group of people who harvest marine resources for food at their homes and also sell some of the harvest to secure food and other basic necessity. The focus was to understand the fishers’ needs, perceptions and concerns regarding fishing as a live-hood option. To achieve effective marine resource management, the KZN substance fishing forum was established by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA). The aim was to investigate the extent to which subsistence fishermen use environmental advocacy and environmental education in realising food security. The introduction of SDCEA was motivated by the challenges faced by fishermen particularly when fishing became prohibited in the harbor. As a result, the SDCEA membership has grown from strength to strength. Since then, the forum has registered 12 000 members across the KZN province. Using in-depth key informant interviews, twenty fishermen were interviewed. The results show that since its inception, the SDCEA forum has played a pivotal role in educating its members on sustainable natural resource management by introducing a mentorship course whereby different environmental and social stakeholders hold classes with the fishermen on marine wildlife, environmental procedures in a coastal environment, littering, water safety and law enforcement. As a result, the forum has gained back three popular fishing spots that were initially taken away from them by the harbor authority. However, a number of challenges were noted, such as the failure to understand subsistence fishing as a livelihood option due to protectionist management practices; and the failure to recognize fishermen as stakeholders in marine resource use. The paper concludes that, in order to achieve future marine resources management strategies, there is need to embrace the needs, perceptions and concerns of fishermen in Durban.