How it came about

In 1990 and against all odds, a very experienced skipper named Ricky Donaggi managed to get a foothold in the exclusive industry of Pelagic fishing – based on the legal advice that the fish caught by afisherman belong to the fishermanuntil it is sold. A Co-operative was formed and a quota was applied for; a bankagreed to help finance a boat and the Weskus Vissers Koöperasie became a legal and committed player in the Pelagic Industry on the West Coast of South Africa. 

Ricky Donnagi

Ricky’s Vision

In 1970, arriving from Walvis Bay, Ricky Donaggi began working in Saldanha Bay and started to explorea solutionto the realities that pelagic fishers had no personal accident fund, pension fund, medical nor death coverage. 

He took the challenge to John Wiley, thethenDeputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Fisheries, who suggested that they organise an association for Pelagic Fishers to assist them with the above requirements. This was  a complex challenge as it needed funds and capital in an industry that had a record of neglecting the fishing crewson the boats foralmost40 years. 

So in the mid-eighties, Ricky and  John Wiley came up witha solution: The funds to protect the fishers and their communities had to come out of the sea. 

In line with this plan,  The Association was awarded a quota and as a legal Rights Owner, they were allowed to enlist the efforts of other boat owners to harvest their quota on their behalf and through this mechanism, the Pension Fund associated with the Co-operative had a source of incometo pay its benefitsto retired pelagic fishers – from the proceeds of the catch.