Govt to explore Eastern Cape perlemoen stock

2012-06-13 20:26
Cape Town - The fisheries department will spend three years researching perlemoen (abalone) stocks along the Eastern Cape coast, an official said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Lionel Adendorf said diving companies would perform the research on its behalf and recover about 31.5 tons of perlemoen a year.

It was hoped this would shed light not only on the distribution and size of perlemoen stocks, but the possibility of viable perlemoen harvesting in future.

The department had not previously granted any perlemoen permits for the seven affected areas, which included St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay.

Adendorf said local communities would benefit from the sale of the harvested perlemoen.

The Democratic Alliance said the project raised red lights for conservation and several questions on logistics.

DA MP in the National Council of Provinces, Elza van Lingen, wanted to know what conservation measures would be implemented, how these would be monitored, and how resources would be protected or replenished.

Adendorf said the fishing had been distributed over a wide area to ensure no stocks were "overly" depleted.

Van Lingen also questioned the public participation process.

"It is extremely strange that the Fishermen's Association of the Eastern Cape was not included in the project," she said.

The department was adamant that local residents had been actively involved in nominating diving companies for their area.

The sale of perlemoen would benefit around 1 145 registered fishers spread along 400km of coast, from Groot River to the Dwesa-Cwebe marine protected area.

Adendorf said the intention was to train local divers in the current season, so people would be more directly involved in fishing the next two seasons.

He said the department intended ensuring sustainable fishing.

The DA would write to Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson for more clarity on aspects of the project.

- SAPA
Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  east london
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