IT WAS once said by an unnamed person: "If the lessons of history teach us anything, it is that nobody learns the lessons that history has taught!"
I have heard the phrase "subsistence fishers" for a while now and have made many observations of this fishing sector. The word "poverty alleviation" also surfaces like a cork all the time. This keeps popping up in conversation with many mixed view points. In theory these are very noble concepts but it is merely, in reality, legalised exploitation by a select few, who go mostly unmonitored and who don't protect their own futures but harvest as much as possible.
The word subsistence does not make way for the sale of goods by definition.
The word subsistence is defined as sow and harvest for own consumption and not for commercial interest.
Personally, I'd like to see public opinion on this subject.
This, in my opinion, is unsustainable unless "voluntary compliance" is the order of the day. Competition to sell their wares unfortunately creates a climate where voluntary compliance is a myth.
We regularly see grunter being sold on the Fish River Bridge, which goes unabated. The sale and purchase of recreational line fish is totally illegal! At the Swartkops Estuary there is a subsistence fisher's programme that has shown exactly what I have mentioned above. In the Western Cape, the West Coast rock lobster is under extreme pressure and policing this sector is very challenging. It is very easy to create a practice with good intentions but the very people who benefit from such schemes are often uneducated and cannot account for their deeds through ignorance and resistance to the spirit and obligation of "voluntary compliance".
At the Swartkops River there are two recognised sanctioned bait trading zones viz: The truck stop container at Schooner Crescent and the other at The Wylde Bridge Container. Insist on seeing a subsistence fishers permit before purchasing bait.
These fishermen are identifiable by a day glow vest (still to be issued as the new permits are not available yet) they don and at present there is a large illegal contingent who have taken to trading bait all over the estuary.
As a result, the legal fishermen are deprived of their existence. Please help by supporting this initiative by only purchasing from the legal folk who may only trade at the above mentioned two sites.
February, in my opinion, is the angling month of the year. The weather is usually at its best. The sea temperatures are good and most prime angling spots are relatively free of people. Take extreme care as you can be the target of criminals, as these areas are remote.
Ruan Bosman, a young man who lives on the Swartkops estuary, has caught the catch of the period with a good cob of 6.5kg. These specimens have been in abundance of late along our coast and estuaries and are good eating too. We often hear about cob having worms, but I must say I have not seen them lately.