"Capture fishing in South Africa provides livelihoods for many coastal communities, a large part of which engages in small-scale fishing. Of the 43,458 commercial fishers and 29,233 subsistence fishers in South Africa, approximately 50,000 are considered small scale". 
In 2012, the fishing industry contributed approximately USD 435 million to the South African economy – increasing by USD 113 million since 2008.  As observed in a range of countries throughout the world, national fisheries policy in South Africa has neglected small-scale fishers, although they are making up almost 62% of the fishing population. Instead, they remained focusing on large-scale production of seafood to meet consumption demands. Such fisheries policies and their neglect of small-scale fisheries have created reactions from fishers.
Especially the allocation of fishing rights in South Africa has led to controversies for more than a decade. The legislations and right allocations have been favoring large-scale and commercial fishing sector, which has resulted in dispossession of small-scale fisher communities .
After the government adopted its 2005 long-term fisheries policy – leaving small-scale fishers without any access or fishing rights and granting long-term commercial fishing rights to companies and individuals as Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) – a group of fishing communities, led by community organisations, Masifundise and Coastal Links, took the issue to the Equality High Court, which finally ruled in favor of the development of a new policy". [1, 2] At that time, more than 90% of small-scale fishers were unable to obtain fishing rights. .
At the end of the judicial process, fisher organizations claiming for justice like Coastal Links and fishers from different parts of the country such as the Western Cape (WC), Northern Cape (NC), Eastern Cape (EC) and KwaZulu Natal (KZN) won and a “court order was granted mandating government to develop a small-scale fishing policy that would ensure the restitution of traditional fishing rights to fishing communities and establish new governance arrangements for this sector" .
The subsequent process of drafting the policy was unprecedented in South Africa in terms of the high degree to which communities were included” .
Eventually, in 2016, the President of South Africa signed the proclamation to implement the small-scale fisheries policy (SSFP), and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries started with the implementation process of the policy . The struggle of small-scale fisher groups in South Africa against the privatisation of fishing rights through ITQs and a range of fisheries policies continues .