For centuries, the Sokhulu people have harvested mussels along a 30-km stretch of coastline near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Loggers, recreational users and the establishment of the Mapelane Nature Reserve in 1984, where it suddenly became illegal for the Sokhulu people to harvest brown mussels, increasingly alienated them from their main food source. Out of desperation, community members turned to poaching.

Dr Jean Harris, a researcher from UCT, stepped in with a solution. With the support of The Green Trust, Harris set-up a co-management programme with the community to return ownership of the mussels to them, provided they harvest in a sustainable manner. Fifteen years down the line, The Sokhulu Co-Management Project is still being successfully implemented. It has contributed significantly to National Subsistence Fisheries Policy and provided a model for 22 other South African coastal communities programmes also funded by The Green Trust.

Presently over a 1000 traditional subsistence fisher families gain legal access to intertidal and linefish resources with an annual harvest of over 16500 kilograms of food.

The Sokhulu Mussel Management Project was funded by the WWF Green Trust and implemented by Ezemvelo KZN Wildife: 1995-2000 (5 Years).


This film was produced by Green Renaissance the environmental division of African Renaissance Productions -

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