Metro re-opens fishing hotspots after 16 years
Buffalo City Metro officially re-opened three fishing port areas; Buffalo Bridge recreational site, the Ports Fireshore on the WestBank and the Orient Pier, closed by East London Ports in 2004 without public consultation. However, the three areas were made available for fishing since 2017.
In an official ceremony held on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at the Orient Pier East London Harbour Precinct, a visibly emotional Henna Arends thanked the government for the move which she says will bring food back on the table for many poor fishing families.
“Fishing is about chasing away poverty, it is our only source of income, but you do not see that because you are not part of the fishing community. When it was closed, our children went back to drugs, committed robberies and some went to jail. We never gave up, we don’t care whether you are the Queen or King, we knock on your door. Stay with the disadvantaged and the poor, because it is us who put you up there. Thank you for this,” said Arends, fondly known as Aunty Henna.
Buffalo City Deputy Executive Mayor, Zoliswa Matana, described the moment as a breakthrough following the cries of the people. She said, owing to this pressure, they were forced to engage Port authorities as well as relevant stakeholders.
Speaking at the Orient Pier, East London Ports Manager Sharon Sijaku said, “We are aware of the importance of ocean fishing to our City, not only recreationally but for economical purposes. We have been petitioning hard over the three years to relax some of the stringent national and international regulations that are in place - which are globally monitored and all port authorities need to comply with.”
The Port has agreed to work closely with the Metro to identify additional areas along the coastline for safe and sustainable fishing opportunities. Sijaku appealed to the fishing community to use this facility safely, responsibly and within the determined guidelines.
Deputy Mayor Matana said the City was looking at engaging the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries over issues affecting the fishing community in Buffalo City. Fishing activists such as Christian Greyvenstein and Arends were applauded for never giving up in their 16-year fight.