Fishing Permits In South Africa

By | February 27, 2020

To operate a fishing vessel in South Africa, you must take the vessel to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to test the vessel for sea-worthiness. Samsa will do an evaluation procedure and issue you with a Safety Certificate.

Once you have the certificate, you must apply with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Cape Town for a fishing vessel licence.

You also need a certified copy of a valid radio licence, reflecting the call sign.

A fishing vessel is a boat or ship equipped or used for:

  • management
  • harvesting
  • exploitation

of living marine resources or in support of related activities.

This includes any vessel aiding or assisting one or more vessels at sea in the performance of any permitted activity relating to fishing including, but not limited to preparation, supply, storage, refrigeration, transportation, or processing.

You must have a fishing right and a permit to engage in fishing activities. No fishing vessel will be registered without a fishing right and a permit to engage in fishing activities.

What you should do

  1. Arrange for the vessel to undergo a SAMSA sea-worthy evaluation procedure.
  2. Get the Application for a local, high seas and foreign fishing vessel licence form at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Customer Service Centre in Cape Town on the Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore.
  3. Complete the form in print using capital letters only
  4. Attach:
    • Local
      • Completed application form
      • Valid SAMSA certificate
      • ICCASA certificate, if applicable
      • If you are a new owner of the vessel, certified copies  of the company registration documents or identity document
    • High Seas
      • Same as for local, but the SAMSA certificate should reflect that the vessel may fish on the high seas
    • Foreign
      • the name and details of the vessel owner (including ownership shares)
      • the length of the vessel
      • the horsepower and capacity of the vessel
      • the Flag of State under which the vessel is currently registered (if chartered from or jointly owned with non-South African citizens)
      • the duration and the fishing sector in which the vessel will be deployed
      • registration certificate from flag state
  5. Pay the prescribed fee according to the length of the vessel into the following account:
    Bank: First National Bank
    Account number: 62123256382
    Account Type: Current
    Account Name: Marine Living Resources Fund
    Branch Name: Corporate Account Services Cape Town
    Branch Code: 204-109
  6. Call the customer service centre at tel. 086 000 3474 for a reference number. This will be provided only once the application was received by them.
  7. You can also pay cash or by means of an electronic fund transfer (EFT). Please note that if the EFT was not done from a FNB (First National Bank) then there will be a 24-hour delay.
  8. Fax your proof of payment to the Customer Service Centre and request from them to provide you with confirmation of payment.
  9. Submit the application to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012 or
    hand deliver it to Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town. 

How long does it take

The application may take three working days or more, subject to proper lodging of the application.

How much does it cost

Tariffs for each service is reflected on the application form.

Contact any SAMSA office for cost information for a safety certificate. 

Forms to complete

Get the Application for a local, high seas and foreign fishing vessel licence at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Customer Service Centre in Cape Town on the Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore or download the form.

Who to contact

Fisheries Customer Service Centre:
Tel 021 402 3911 / 086 000 3474
Fax 021 402 3362

Physical address: Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town 8000
Postal address: Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012
Website: www.daff.gov.za

Contact details for SAMSA

Apply for a fish processing establishment permit

To operate a fish processing establishment (FPE), you must have an FPE permit. You can only apply for an FPE permit when you have a fishing right. Invitation to apply for a fishing right is published in the Government Gazette. 

An FPE is a vehicle, vessel, premises, or a place where a substance or article is produced from fish. The substance may be produced by any method, such as cutting up, dismembering, separation of parts, cleaning, sorting, lining, and preserving fish. The establishment also includes a place where fish is canned, packed, dried, gutted, salted, iced, chilled, frozen or processed for sale in or outside South Africa.

The evaluation process will begin after the cut-off date for applications. Upon finalisaton of the process, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will announce the results. If granted the FPE right, you must apply for the permit to operate an FPE and satisfy the requirements to get a permit.

The Minister will approve an FPE exemption under exceptional circumstances. If an FPE exemption is granted you must apply for a permit to operate an FPE.

Note: You must renew the permit annually. Failure to adhere to permit conditions may result in the suspension, cancellation or revocation of the permit.

What you should do

Rights application procedure

  1. When an invitation is published in the Government Gazette, you must go to the distribution centre announced in the Gazette.
  2. Read the application form carefully and make sure that you can satisfy the requirements and conditions.
  3. Pay a non-refundable prescribed fee announced in the Gazette.

Exemption application procedure

  1. Apply for an exemption by writing a detailed motivation.
  2. Post the motivation to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, 8012.

Permit application procedure

  1. Complete, sign, and submit the permit application form with the following documents:
    • certified copy of identity document 
    • authorisation letter from the right holder nominating you to apply on behalf of the client/right holder
    • certified copy of company registration documents
    • valid original South African Revenue Service tax clearance certificate
    • proof of ownership of or lease agreement for the FPE (where applicable, e.g. land-based)
    • a certified copy of a supply agreement(s) with the supplier of products to be processed
    • where applicable, certification by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications.
  2. If the fish is intended for human consumption, you must obtain a certificate of acceptability for food premises from the nearest local or provincial authority and attach a certified copy of the original to the application.

How long does it take

The FPE exemption and permit application may take one to three months subject to proper lodging of the letter of motivation and permit application and supporting documents.

How much does it cost

Tariffs for each service is reflected on the application form.

Get the form at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the Customer Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town. Otherwise, go to the distribution point announced by the department when the invitation to apply for a right is published in the Government Gazette.

Who to contact

Fisheries Customer Service Centre:
Tel 021 402 3911 / 086 000 3474
Fax 021 402 3362

Physical address: Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town 8000
Postal address: Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012

Apply for a commercial fishing right

To harvest fish or engage in a fishing-related activity for commercial purposes, you must first be in possession of a commercial fishing right. You can only apply for a commercial fishing right upon invitation in the Government Gazette when long-term commercial fishing rights are given to individuals and companies for a period of eight to fifteen years.

The invitation published in the Government Gazette will contain information on the distribution point where you can collect an application form. You must pay a non-refundable prescribed fee as specified by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Gazette.

Note: No person may engage in commercial fishing without a permit. In addition to the permit, you will also require a permit to transport fish.

For more information regarding commercial fishing rights, go to the Department’s website or call the Fisheries Customer Service Centre at 021 402 3911 / 086 000 3474.

Apply for subsistence and small-scale fishing exemption

You should apply for subsistence and small-scale fishing exemption if you live in a coastal community and want to make use of marine living resources.

You must apply through the locally established local co-management committees.

To qualify for the exemption, you must meet all the verification criteria.

Note: It is unlawful to engage in subsistence and small-scale fishing without a permit. Currently subsistence and small-scale fishers are managed by fishing exemptions until the finalisation of the small-scale fisheries policy.

The exemption is renewable annually. Before issuing exemptions departmental staff explain exemption conditions and bag limits.

Failure to adhere to exemption conditions may result in legal proceedings which include suspension, cancellation or the revocation of the exemption.

What you should do

  1. Register and apply at your local co-management committee.
  2. Indicate which sector or fishery you want to engage in.
  3. Sign the list to acknowledge receipt of your exemptions.

How long does it take

The application process may take a month or more depending on the volume of applications.

Departmental officials will call a community meeting to issue exemptions to all registered fishers.

How much does it cost

Tariffs

Forms to complete

There are no forms to complete.

Who to contact
 

Fisheries Customer Service Centre:
Tel 021 402 3911 / 086 000 3474
Fax 021 402 3362

Physical address: Ground Floor, Foretrust Building, Martin Hammerschlag Way, Foreshore, Cape Town 8000
Postal address: Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Private Bag X2, Roggebaai, Cape Town, 8012
Website: www.daff.gov.za