Skipper’s Licence Opens New Chances for the Fishing Community of Port St John’s
Following a gruelling five days of training programme for a skipper’s licence, Phumza Kalimashe and Ntsindiso Nongcavu from Port St John’s can now confidently stay safe in the ocean while catching a variety of fish under inclement weather. These two Green Connection Legacy Champions are part of local fishing cooperatives for small-scale fishers under Coastal Links, who successfully completed a short course held at the Rivers Lodge, Port St John’s from 13-17 October 2021.
The course empowers fisherfolks with basic safety protocols to be able to act immediately when there is an emergency. It also allows them to go fish deep into the ocean and thereby increase chances of catching a variety of fish to sell. Apart from the experience they acquired in the skipper’s training programme these small-scale fishers have indigenous knowledge about tidal predictions – where they can tell when it’s bad or good sea day which reveals the connection they have with the ocean.
The next step is for them to complete additional courses on health and safety, radio communication, as well as other aspects of the industry so that they can confidently operate the equipment. It is an exciting journey that promises to improve their livelihood.
For Kalimashe — one of a growing number of fisherwomen in the country — getting a sea licence is of utmost importance. “The ocean is not a place where one can be negligent. It can cost lives. So, when an opportunity to gain knowledge in the fishing industry presents itself, small-scale fishers must grab it with both hands as these courses are expensive and fishers would not afford them,” she says.
Nongcavu agrees. “Sufficient experience is needed when going to sea because there is so much that could go wrong. This training has given us basic skills, and we are now ready for further training. We particularly look forward to any chance to build on these skills, especially in the hope of learning how to operate (and maybe one day, own) bigger fishing boats. As such, I believe that us small-scale fishers must not be scared to knock on doors to find the right partners and create more opportunities.”
Kalimashe adds – about how The Green Connection Legacy programme has given them enough skills and training to communicate with relevant stakeholders and authorities, as prior she never dared to voice out her concerns due to lack of necessary information and expertise.
The Green Connection Legacy Programme equips the Green Connectors with advocacy skills to fight against environmental and socio-economic injustices through workshops and mentoring.
Written By: Lisa Makaula and Natasha Adonis