St. Lucia fishers make peace with Park management: "breakthrough agreement"
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Cape Argus (Cape Town)
A "breakthrough" agreement has been announced between the gill-netting subsistence fishers of Lake St Lucia and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, bringing to an end a long conflict so tense it was described as "a low-level war".
An historic "code of conduct" was signed recently between the conservation organisation's manager for the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the St Lucia communities.
In terms of the agreement, the community has established an "Umbrella Committee" that will regulate the behaviour of the subsistence fishermen, in return for certain undertakings by the conservation authorities.
The code of conduct stipulates permissible net sizes, fishing areas and fishing times.
There are also several guidelines concerning sustainability of fishing, including undertakings not to pollute the water of this World Heritage Site, not to use explosives, poison or firearms, and to return by-catch like crabs and prawns to the water.
Only fishermen with legal permits in clearly marked fishing craft and using legal equipment will be allowed.