An OMP is set of decision rules agreed on by stakeholders in the fishery to meet agreed-on targets, which may include rebuilding of a fish stock.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson met, together with scientists from the department, representatives of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Cape Town.
The Minister stated that a 35 per cent recovery target (which means a 35 per cent recovery of the exploited adult stock) was recommended by the department, based on the OMP agreed on by stakeholders. There was concern by WWF that the department had moved away from this agreed-on strategy, but the Minister emphasised that the current OMP and rebuilding strategy has not been abandoned and that regulations that will make this decision legally binding are being prepared for gazetting. This undertaking will ensure that the recovery plan will be adhered to by all parties.
The recovery plan will be enforced until 2021, the target date. After 2021, the department will reassess the recovery target based on recommendations from departmental scientists and other relevant bodies, in consultation with key stakeholders in the fishery.
"I have requested the fisheries branch to draft regulations that will guide this process for enforcement so that the recovery plan will be adhered to. These regulations will also ensure that the recovery plan accommodates the small scale fisheries policy. Through these regulations we will ensure that we strike a balance between the need to address social issues and the sustainability of the west coast rock lobster fishery. The fisheries sector needs to be at the forefront of job creation and poverty alleviation and is required to be progressive in assisting government to interventions for the many social problems that currently face many coastal towns," said Minister Joemat-Pettersson.
The Minister and all management of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, remain committed to ensuring the sustainability of South African fisheries stocks. The fisheries branch has the responsibility to ensure that our country's natural resources are shared among all South Africans, and especially communities who rely on fishing for their livelihood. These social needs require a balance with issues of sustainability of fishing stocks for future generations.