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South African trade rallies to call for resumption of fishing

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The South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) has written to ministers calling for a resumption of fishing.

The fishing tackle industry in South Africa has rallied together to urge the country’s government to relax current stringent regulations and enable the industry to operate again.

The South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) – with the full support of the South African Fishing Tackle Agents and Distributors (SAFTAD) – delivered what is described as a ‘thorough and practical’ request to promote fishing and protect the rights of its members.

The document was sent to the Ministers of Sports, Arts and Culture, Employment and Labour, Finance, Health, Small Business Development and Trade and Industry. 

SACRAA Chairman John Pledger said: “The request is a plea to government on behalf of the fishing fraternity to allow us to operate to save the many businesses associated with the industry, protect the jobs and livelihoods of the many employees and provide individuals with the opportunity to engage in the act of fishing.”

Pledger underlined the fact that, like most sectors, SAFTAD and the retail outlets it supports, have been hard hit by the regulations imposed on all South Africans during the lockdown period. “The industry as a whole contributes in the region of R36 billion a year to the economy and provides for approximately 94,000 jobs, many of which are now under threat. Recovery from this for many, especially those small and micro-businesses, is in serious jeopardy.

“A recent survey by trade publication Sports Trader revealed that of those businesses that applied for some form of relief, 89% are still waiting for a response. The only chance of survival for most of these is to start trading again.”

Pledger emphasised that the industry is not seeking a complete lifting of restrictions, but a controlled and measured reintegration into the economy. “These businesses do not attract hundreds of clients at a time,” he pointed out.

“Unlike supermarkets, they will instead have a steady stream of only a few customers at a time and can easily comply with the restriction of having only 30% of the workforce at any one time.”

SACRAA’s document included the following proposals from the trade:

1. All agents and distributors to register with the relevant government authority and be allowed to trade with retail outlets (same restrictions applicable to deliveries by suppliers to supermarkets would apply).

2. Retail outlets trading in fishing tackle to register with the relevant government authority and be allowed to trade under the following conditions:

• Receive online orders and package orders for on-site collection (minimal time spent inside shops).

• Shops to operate with a skeleton staff on a rotation basis if necessary, to allow all staff a chance to work and earn a living. All staff to adhere to strict hygiene guidelines and to wear face masks.

• No more than five clients inside a shop at any one time and all must wear face masks and sanitise hands before entering.

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