World angling: West coast hosts world best

2010-11-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — More than 50 million anglers from all over the world will be keeping a keen eye on Velddrif on the West Coast, where South Africa started the first World Angling Tournament with a grand opening ceremony.

Anglers from some 35 countries arrived in the small town to compete in the international event.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said in her welcoming speech that the Western Cape was fast becoming a world destination for anglers.

According to the vice-president of the International Sea Sportfishing Federation (FIPS), Hymie Steyn of Durbanville, angling is finally receiving recognition for its deserved place in the country’s economy.

He said angling has a bigger economic impact than rugby and cricket put together, and it is 10 times larger than the commercial fishing industry — according to recent research by the Universtiy of Stellenbosch.

Professor Marius Leibold in International Trade Management, assisted by Dr Colin J. van Zyl, environmental and tourism specialist, conducted a study which revealed angling has eight categories worth more than R21 billion. They said the world was ready to take notice of these startling facts.

South African organisers worker hard to ensur­e that top accommodation was available to welcome the anglers.

This is the 27th world tournament and the 18th for women.

However, many South Coasters have questioned the logic behind fishing on the West Coast.

The official reasons cited are that the West Coast beaches are easily accessible from Cape Town and offer Europeans a different, unspoilt and uncrowded experience.

“Maybe they are just scared that we will outfish them from the pier,” joked Nicky Durell, Pietermarizburg-based spokesperson for KZN freshwater angling.

She added that South Africa is the current world champion in fresh water angling, having won the title in England last month.

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