Court throws the West Coast crayfish a lifeline

The WWF welcomed the ruling in a statement‚ saying it resorted to litigation after many attempts to engage the department over years had failed.

“Significantly‚ the court also found that when determining the [total allocated catch]‚ [Ndudane] failed to take into account the best available scientific evidence as required in terms of international law‚” the statement read.

“The judgment is just a start. There is still much work to be done to ensure our important marine resources are sustainably managed and to save the West Coast rock lobster fishery from commercial extinction. Despite having had to resort to court action‚ WWF stands ready to support [the department] and all West Coast rock lobster fishery stakeholders with implementing such a recovery plan to ensure socio-economic benefits for current and future generations.”

Zokwana’s spokesman‚ Khaye Nkwanyana‚ said the department was still studying the judgment. He said the department might consider taking the ruling on appeal.

“We accept that‚ as a department‚ we should have elaborated the reasons behind the total allowable catch‚” said Nkwanyana.

“We are in an awkward position as government. The government cannot listen to only one stakeholder. We are one in agreeing that we must conserve but we are facing a dilemma because people living along the coast and small scale fishermen are very poor and rely on fishing to maintain their households.”

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