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A Seismic Shift: A coalition of fishing communities, activists and lawyers has come together to keep the coasts and oceans of South Africa free of the destructive Blue Economy agenda

Jackie Sunde

One Ocean Hub, University of Cape Town

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  • activism,
  • artisanal fisheries,
  • blue economy,
  • social justice,
  • coastal communities,
  • Food Security,
  • gender equality
Target Group
  • Researchers,
  • Students
  • English
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The publication highlights the growing resistance against the government's harmful "Blue Economy" agenda, that prioritizes economic exploitation of the oceans over the rights and of local fishers.

This publication highlights small-scale fishing communities and environmental activists in South Africa that¬† have been resisting the government’s push for offshore oil and gas exploration under the “Blue Economy” agenda. The author brings to our attention that these parties successfully obtained court orders halting seismic surveys by companies like Shell and Searcher Geodata, citing inadequate consultation, potential harm to marine life, and violation of their cultural rights and livelihoods. The courts recognized the intangible cultural beliefs of these communities, who consider the ocean as the sacred home of their ancestors. This resistance, supported by diverse groups like surfers and NGOs, aims to keep South Africa’s coasts free from the destructive “Blue Economy” agenda that prioritizes economic exploitation over environmental and community rights, despite policies recognizing small-scale fishing rights.