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Sdcea (2007) Pictures from the Subsistence Fishermen's March 29 May 2007. Centre for Civil Society : -.


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Fishermen tackle port authority over closure of piers

Subsistence fishermen are fighting for survival


MERVIN Andrews of Wentworth has been fishing for more than 30 years and,
with the imminent closure of Durban's south pier, he says his life will
come to a complete standstill.

Dressed in his fishing gear and holding his fishing rod, Andrews
presented the lonely figure of a man desperate to make a living the only
way he knew.

He has three children, an unemployed wife and a brother to support and
they were the five "good reasons" why the piers should not be closed, he
told The Mercury.

Hundreds of subsistence fishermen gathered on Quayside Road yesterday to
hand over a memorandum to the National Ports Authority to protest
against the closures.

According to the port authority, access to the south breakwater would be
closed in June as part of the entrance channel widening and deepening
project. This was being done to improve the safety of ships calling at
the port.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2010. The re-opening of south pier to the public will be determined by security and other considerations closer to that time.

The fencing off of the north pier was recently completed and the area is
no longer accessible to the public.

Said Andrews: "This is really bad. How do they expect me to make a
living. This is my life and this is all I've known all my life. I'm the
sole breadwinner. How is my family going live. How are they going to get

Andrews said he sold the fish he caught, but sometimes took some home.
"I'm trying to make a living and they are not allowing me. I did this so
I wouldn't commit crime. I just took my rod and decided that I would
hustle my way through life like this. God gave me this life and now it
is being taken away from me.

"Food, money and shelter comes from catching fish every day. I wake up
early every morning so that I can be at the pier before all the good
fish go. This is how I make a living.."

In the memorandum handed over to the port authority yesterday, the
fishermen demanded that access to the beaches, harbour and piers be
granted to all subsistence fishermen, and asked that decisions affecting
them should be made in consultation with them.

The memorandum also demanded a meeting within seven days.
National Ports Authority spokeswoman Jyothi Naidoo said they would
respond to the fishermen in seven days.

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