WWF welcomes end to West Coast rock lobster legal action | WWF South Africa

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WWF welcomes end to West Coast rock lobster legal action

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has withdrawn its application for leave to appeal against the Cape High Court’s recent ruling over West Coast rock lobster (WCRL).

This brings an end to legal proceedings over the way in which the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for WCRL has been set in recent years.

On 26 September this year, Judge Owen Rogers ruled substantially in WWF-SA’s favour after the environmental NGO had petitioned the court over a TAC that was more than double the scientifically recommended level even though the resource was at 2% of its historical pristine levels.

In his ruling, Judge Rogers found that both national and international law required the department to use the best available science to set the TAC while taking into account socio-economic needs.

At the time, DAFF announced that it would be applying for leave to appeal. DAFF also gave an undertaking to abide by scientific recommendations for the 2018/19 fishing season.

The Minister and his Deputy Director-General have now given notice that they will no longer be pursuing an application for leave to appeal which would have been heard in the courts on11 December 2018.

Dr Theressa Frantz, head of the Environmental Programmes Unit at WWF-SA, commented: “Through this legal action, an important precedent has been set for future decision-making over the sustainable management of our marine resources. However, this is just the start of a process. We would like to see all stakeholders come together to work towards the common goal of restoring the WCRL fishery so that present and future generations can continue to benefit from this valuable resource.”

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