Olifants Estuary, South Africa

Moving Forward With Community Fishing Rights and Conservation Initiatives in the Face of New Threats from Mining
Olifants Estuary, South Africa Community Stories CCRN

Olifants Estuary, South Africa

thumbnail of South Africa_April 2017

View the CCRN’s Olifants Estuary Community Story as a PDF

The people of Ebenhaeser were forcibly removed from their farmlands near Lutzville in the Western Cape of South Africa in 1926 and relocated to unfertile lands adjacent to the Olifants Estuary. These communities have been reliant on the estuary for fishing for generations. Although in recent years reduced catches have resulted in many seeking supplemental livelihoods. These communities face several challenges to their livelihoods including threats to close the fishery and proposals to build a mine adjacent to the Olifants estuary. Through partnerships developed over the years with researchers and NGOs, fishers in Olifants Estuary have strengthened their voice in negotiations and decisions affecting the estuary and their livelihoods. Increased understanding of the importance of the estuary for conservation, livelihoods and culture amongst fishers, government officials and other stakeholders has led to a greater willingness to work together to achieve socio-economic and conservation objectives. The proposed mining activities, in the vicinity of the Olifants estuary, pose a new threat to these communities and require ongoing vigilance, mobilisation of the community and collaboration with social partners, to defend rights and the environment.