The Minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries approved an additional R6 million as part of Abalone Social Relief for commercial abalone right holders and crew, pending the finalisation of the process for the conditional lifting of the suspension of the commercial harvesting of wild abalone.
"Government has carefully considered the pleas made by abalone right holders for additional relief measures and we remain concerned about their plight, especially in the context of dwindling wild abalone stocks', Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said
The relief is only a short-term measure or 'stop gap' to address the plight of the fishers and their families and it is not sustainable in the long-term. Minister Joemat-Pattersson said that alternative sources of fish resources will be explored for coastal communities and fishing companies.
The Minister made this observation because the current wild abalone stocks, even with temporary suspension of harvesting, will not lead to full recovery to meet the current demand.
The interim relief payments, made from the department, came into effect on Friday 7 May 2010. "No service provider will be involved in the facilitation of payments to ensure that every single cent reaches the intended beneficiaries," the Minister said.