The Minister has reached a decision in light of the expiration of the rights.
Minister Zokwana's decision is two fold. Firstly, the Minister exempts right holders who had abalone fishing rights in the 2013/2014 fishing season to afford current right holders an opportunity to catch their uncaught 2013/14 abalone allocation until 30 September 2014.
Secondly, the Minister gives right holders exemptions until July 2015.
The allocation of long-term rights in the abalone commercial sector expired yesterday, 30 July 2014.
Minister Zokwana said: “The decline in numbers in the abalone fishery is extremely worrying, hence our decision takes into consideration the long term conservation of the fishery. This downward trend suggests that the current stock levels would likely only be able to sustain one abalone fishing season."
Minister Zokwana added that the Department is proceeding with extensive consultations with industry, and that this will include a recovery plan that will look at, among other things, alternative livelihoods for those involved in the sector.
“Our decision has taken into consideration socio-economic factors that have contributed to hardships experienced in coastal communities, and particularly in communities that rely on abalone for their livelihood,” concluded Minister Zokwana.