Marine resource utilisation : the perceptions of stakeholders regarding crayfish harvesting at Mfazazana, KwaZulu-Natal
The illegal sale of East Coast rock lobster (Panulirus homarus) along the N2 highway at Mfazazana on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, continues to create tension between the local community and conservation and other authority structures in the region. Panulirus homarus (P. homarus) is a valuable commodity in an area distant from industry and other economic prospects and is within easy reach of both the harvester, in terms of its intertidal living space and the market, in terms of the N2 and the economy in seafood prevalent in the region. P. homarus is therefore at risk by virtue of its biology and habitat, and the illegal nature of its capture tests the parameters of sustainable resource management still further. This research addresses the issue of sustainable resource use through an examination of the perceptions of the various stakeholders who are involved in the use and protection of P. homarus at Mfazazana. This study was commissioned by the Communications Section of the KwaZulu Department of Nature Conservation (KONC) in response to continued illegal harvesting and trade of P. homarus at Mfazazana. One of the mandates of the Communications Section is to initiate and maintain environmental education programmes and thus comply with the KONC mission statement (See Appendix 1a). Specific objectives of the study include: • how respondents perceive their relationship with, responsibility to and role in terms of P. homarus • how respondents perceive their relationship with, responsibility to and role in terms of the others involved with P. homarus • how present legislation is perceived by stakeholders • what options exist regarding the regulation and/or management of P. homarus • whether changes over time have occurred in the respondents' relationship with P. homarus Fishing and trading activities were inv~stigated using informal, loosely structured questionnaires which elicited qualitative information. Two main groups were selected. and respondents were interviewed either individually or in small groups. The crayfishers made up the first group and the resource managers made up the second group which included the Natal Parks Board (NPB), the KONG, the Hibberdene Tourism and Publicity Association, the Community Policing Forum, the Community Development Forum at Mfazazana and the South Coast Fishing Forum. The study provided an understanding and explanatiol] of how the elements of the locality interact with underlying structures and human agency in time to produce the conflict over the marine resource P. homarus at Mfazazana. It was found that the conflict between stakeholders, as a result of differing perceptions regarding the illegal harvesting of the resource, was obstructing the sustainable management of P. homarus at Mfazazana.