DAFF Issues Commercial Fish Processing Plant Exemption

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

An exemption to operate a commercial fish processing plant without a right has been issued.

The agriculture, forestry and fisheries department announced the decision in a statement in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act.

The exemption applies to fishmongers; restaurants; fish shops; supermarkets; large chain stores; authorised fishing vessels that only pack fish in crates or use ice to land fresh fish; those engaged in the drying of legally caught and purchased fish; and the cleaning, heading, gutting, gilling and tailing of fish on board an authorised fishing vessel.

No permit to operate a processing plant will be required until the act is amended.

Operators not covered by the list will have to apply for a right to operate a processing plant on/or before 13 December 2017.

Meanwhile, the department recently provided responses to the issues raised during hearings on the National Forests Amendment Bill.

The aim of the bill is to amend the National Forests Act of 1998 and to:

•    provide for clear definitions of natural forests and woodlands;
•    provide for public trusteeship of the nation’s forestry resources;
•    increase the promotion and enforcement of sustainable forest management;
•    increase the measures provided for in the Act to control and remedy deforestation;
•    provide for appeals against decisions taken under delegated powers and duties;
•    reinforce offences and penalties; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

The department pointed out that the rural development and land reform department was working with it to finalise the settlement agreements that will deal with lease period, rentals and other commitments.

As regards the issuing of water use licences, the department assists with the application process and conducting environmental impact assessments on behalf of communities to reduce the costs.

In terms of community participation, the department stressed that it will continue to ensure that there is community participation in future.

Sabinet Cape Town Office