'Save the whales' plea leads to temporary suspension of False Bay octopus fishing

2019-06-28 21:52


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Exploratory fishing for octopus has been temporarily suspended following widespread concern over whales becoming entangled in fishing lines in False Bay, the environment forestry and fisheries department said on Friday. 

"Our decision was taken following widespread public concern regarding recent whale entanglements in the False Bay area, which has resulted in the untimely and cruel death of these magnificent creatures," said Minister of Environment Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy.

This followed consultation with operators. 

Creecy is also seeking independent scientific advice on practical ways to help prevent future entanglements. The suspension will stay in place as scientists investigate this. 

She explained that in 2014, the department established an octopus exploratory fishery in Saldanha, False Bay and Mossel Bay. 

WATCH: Whale calf freed from fishing gear near Simon's Town

The programme aims to gain scientific knowledge regarding octopus harvesting, with a view to enhancing job creation and economic development in coastal areas. 

Data was collected between 2014 and 2018, and will continue until 2021 in order to ensure a solid statistical time series of catch and effort data.  

Once enough data has been collected, it will be analysed, reviewed and a recommendation made. 

Creecy said the department had been working with permit holders and many practical suggestions have been made. 

After special sinking lines with extra weights were introduced in 2017, there were no recorded whale fatalities in 2018. 

Currently, the use of special buoys is being investigated but more testing is needed. 

After Friday's meeting, operators will start removing their gear from False Bay, focusing initially on those areas identified as most sensitive and with the highest number of interactions.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter


Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.