Ocean View fishers learning how to scale up

Twenty-four small-scale fishers from Ocean View are taking part in a six-week export marketing programme offered by the the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute.

Small-scale fishers in Ocean View are learning how to cast their nets for a bigger catch of the export market, thanks to a pilot training programme.

The six-week course on how to maximise income from small-scale catches for export was launched at the Ocean View community hall on Wednesday April 12. It is being offered by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI) and is funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).

“The hope is by skilling locals in the basics of international fish exporting they will eventually be able to export themselves,” said Sulaiman Appoles, the FADI’s head of projects.

“In our local fishing community, fishermen earn a pittance selling fish to marketers, especially compared to what these marketers make in dollars and euros. We want to encourage fisheries cooperatives to come together, establish their own export marketing companies and earn the full value of the fish they sell.”

Malcolm Alexander, from the TETA, said: “Even if one individual starts an export company and generates income from this programme, it will be a success.”

This programme, which focuses on export market development, organisational management and finance, is run by Melinda du Preez.

“In this programme, they will learn how to sell their fish locally and overseas as well as comply with export regulations. The programme will also cover topics around finance, insurance and logistics,” she said.

Ricardo Stringer, one of the course’s 24 participants, said they had to rely on others to export and promote their stock.

“We would like to do that as fishermen ourselves. We would like to generate more money and create more jobs in Ocean View.”

Another participant, Charles America, said he had been fighting for fishers’ rights for 30 years.

“My hope is that the wealth of skills we gain through this course will give us the acumen and skills to be able to supplement our income.“

Charmaine Daniels, who owns her own boat and has been in the fishing industry for 28 years, said the course was a way for her to learn more about her product.

“For me, it stops after I catch the fish. Once I offload, the marketer comes, but we are not involved in the rest of the process. It is so important for us to do these kinds of courses so that we can be part of the process from the beginning to the end.“