A Social Coastal Fisheries Policy for South Africa? Subsistence Fisheries Co-management for Sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty Alleviation

"The Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) is the custodian of South Africa’s natural marine resources. Management and allocation of this resource had always had a strong scientific influence but, with the advent of democracy, a paradigm shift was necessary to incorporate more people-centred and development-focused approaches. Since 1994 MCM has been playing with various frameworks to introduce a social policy to address the problems facing the coastal poor, including fisheries co-management, sustainable coastal livelihoods and poverty alleviation. However, the science-heavy institution lacks a deep understanding of development, meaning that there is insufficient capacity and common purpose within MCM to carry through its social objectives once current donor support comes to an end. MCM has been unable to move from its preoccupation with natural resource management and regulation to fit into the broader government priority of reducing poverty. As long as this is the case, the credibility and legitimacy of South Africa’s coastal management as a developmental intervention in a democratic dispensation is at stake."