The women ‘Making Waves’ in South Africa’s fishing industry
- Making Waves campaign highlights the roles, characters and issues driving South Africa’s fishing industry, in the run-up to World Fisheries Day.
- Beyond gender equality, South Africa’s Fishing Rights Allocations Process top of mind for fishing industry in 2021.
Cape Town, 23 September 2021 – Meet the women in South Africa’s fishing industry who are challenging the male-dominated status quo, leading industry associations and driving their fishing companies forward with empathy, courage, and humility.
Shining a spotlight on their stories in the run up to World Fisheries Day on 21 November, the Making Waves campaign initiated by Atlantis Seafood Products reveals the roles, characters and issues that make South Africa’s fishing industry turn.
One such character is Shamera Daniels who owns her own consulting firm, SDB Consulting, and is the Chairperson of West Coast Rock Lobster Association and Vice-Chairperson of Fish SA. Sharing her views on gender equality in the fishing industry, Daniels admits there aren’t enough women in the industry, particularly at owner and management level. “The women are there, they just need to be given the opportunities and find their voice,” she says.
Also profiled in the Making Waves campaign is Nicolette De Freitas, owner of Fish4Africa, who believes she has an advantage as a woman working in such a tough industry. “We stand out because of our compassion and our humanity. It’s about listening and paying attention. Knowing your skipper’s child’s name or birthday, and doing, small thoughtful things whenever you can help the team to feel special.”
De Freitas’ family has been in the fishing industry for generations, and she has been heavily involved in the business personally, even running the operation of vessels. She now takes the lead role in managing the business and insists that Fish4Africa is focussed on giving back to South Africa primarily through food security.
“We want all South Africans to have the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle at affordable prices,” explains De Freitas who is priming her daughters to break into the fishing industry should they wish to in the future.
Making waves in her own right and company is Port Elizabeth local Sagree Gerdharee, CEO of Mayibuye Fishing and Vice-Chairperson of South East Coast Inshore Fishing Association. Gerdharee followed in the footsteps of her famous fishing industry father who launched the business and is taking his legacy forward, joined by her husband.
“I find the fishing industry to be very competitive and challenging and I’m constantly thinking about those who must live off this industry. My goal and inspiration would be to ensure that we all get the benefit of this resource and play a significant role in the industry,” she says.
Despite having small quotas and limited resources, Mayibuye Fishing has made meaningful investments in both hake deep-sea and inshore trawlers. Through partnerships fostered with like-minded local and international organisations, they are proudly doing their small part in contributing to much needed job creation and local economic opportunities.
This vision is shared by the team at Atlantis Seafood Products (ASP), the largest 100% black-owned frozen seafood processing and packing factory in South Africa.
From humble beginnings in 2003 with just five staff members, the fully transformed company now employs over 350 people, who in turn support over 1,500 people in the previously disadvantaged Atlantis community.
In a ground-breaking B-BBEE transaction in 2016, ASP was transferred to the beneficiaries of the Atlantis Seafood Products Employee Empowerment Trust; 85% of whom are black women and 75% youths from the Atlantis community and surrounds.
ASP beneficiary and head of quality assurance at the factory, Sithokozile Solo, explains how the company’s state-of-the-art facility develops a product, from concept to plate, based on their customers’ requirements, including packing and processing speciality products and house brands for such companies as Shoprite Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay, Food Lovers’ Market and Spar, as well as Bidfoods, the largest food services company in South Africa.
“It is a thrill to see our products in supermarkets around the country and know that this hard-working, committed team of women and men are putting their energy into creating a high-quality product with all the food-safety standards in place, while uplifting their community.
“After a difficult 2020 when we were forced to reduce staff shifts because of limited supply of imported and local seafood to process, we are pleased to be back to full strength and are looking forward to the outcome of the Fishing Rights Allocations Process (FRAP) this year with the hope that we will have access to commercially viable fishing quotas that will catapult us forward as a company and deliver real benefits to the previously disadvantaged beneficiaries who will derive 100% of these,” says Solo.
FRAP is reviewed every 15 years with the intention of allocating fishing rights in an equitable process that promotes equality, transformation, job creation, competition and investment in the industry. The timeline recently released by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment estimates that the quota holders will be announced by December 2021.
n, competition and investment in the industry.
Access to additional fish supply through increased quotas would allow the factory to be less dependent on sourcing products locally and internationally, says Solo. “The success of our factory to date has been dependent on imported seafood products and outsourced processing work. We have placed a lot of hope on the upcoming allocation process for our long-term sustainability. The FRAP 2021 process has the potential to significantly transform the lives of the beneficiaries of the Atlantis Worker’s Trust and the community of Atlantis.”
Daniels agrees that beyond gender-equality in the fishing industry, FRAP is the industry issue to watch. “We are waiting to see whether or not Government is going to make the sector changes necessary for the industry’s sustainability, particularly in relation to SMMEs’ economic viability. The Government needs to be courageous. I’m hopeful they’ll do what needs to be done,” Daniels concludes.
To view some of the profiled super lifters and beneficiaries of South Africa’s fishing industry, visit www.makingwavesinza.com or follow the hashtag #makingwavesza.
Tel: 084 245 2189