Anglers want to fish
Fishing for food
26 April 2020 | Fishing
Andries van der Merwe; Angler; “It is our culture, our tradition and nowhere is there any evidence that catching fish would in any way spread the coronavirus.”
A demonstration by anglers in the harbour town was called off by the local police on Friday morning.
The anglers wanted to hand over a petition to representatives of the ministry of fisheries and marine resources in Walvis Bay.
They are also asking for regulations to be amended so that they are able to go fishing in order to feed their families.
According to Andries van der Merwe, people have been transgressing lockdown regulations to put food on the table.
“We are asking that the minister of fisheries consider and adopt new regulations so we will be able to fish to feed our families as we have for generations.”
He explained how anglers usually operate and said minimising contact with people would not be an issue.
“When leaving home we get into our transport, drive straight to the sea, catch our fish and drive straight home. To refuel, one person goes to the garage, opens the tank by pushing the button inside the vehicle and then delivers payment to the pump attendant through the passenger window.”
Van der Merwe said it was evident from this whole operation there is no contact with any outsider.
“The closest I come to anybody is to the petrol attendant at approximately two metres. At the ocean, the angler is at all times in the water. The coastline is an open space with ample place for all. All we ask is that our minister see our suffering and allow us to catch fish in to feed our families.”
He said anglers have recommendations in place which can be adopted so that they can be allowed to fish for food.
“We suggest that no more than two people be allowed in a vehicle with the exception if those people are from the same household. To fish, you are not allowed to cross into any other zones and can only fish in the zone you are residing in.”
The rest of the recommendations include that an angler must have a valid permit to fish.
“We also suggest that you may not fish within 30 metres of another angler or fishing effort being conducted. Fish catches should be cleaned at home and not at public cleaning facilities. We further recommend that fish tackle shops adhere to the same regulations as per lockdown regulations exercised by other shops that use sanitizer and social distancing protocols,” he added.
Van der Merwe explained that the anglers have done their research and found laws applicable to those who catch fish for food.
“It is our culture, our tradition and nowhere is there any evidence that catching fish would in any way spread the coronavirus. We find that this is discriminatory against us, our rights, and our way of providing food to our families.”
He said that collecting food by anglers is prohibited while others are being allowed to do so.
“How can the state point out that you must belong to Hangeneni to collect food or else you must stay hungry? Is that in the Constitution that it must be forced upon us?”
No formal petition was however handed over to the officials of the ministry.
Inspector Illeni Shapumba, community affairs commander, emphasised that no demonstrations are allowed during a state of emergency.
“They did not have the relevant permission to hand over a petition. The bottom line is that no demonstrations are allowed during this time.”