New rock lobster catch reduced

(File, Sapa)
(File, Sapa)

Cape Town - The total allowable catch for rock lobsters on the West Coast for 2013/2014 has been reduced to 2 167 tons, the fisheries department said on Wednesday.

Last year's global total allowable catch (TAC) was 2 426 tons.

This was part of the department's effort to ensure the lobster population recovered, acting deputy director-general of fisheries management Desmond Stevens said in Cape Town, according to a statement.

"Noting the 2012 status of the SA Marine Fishery Resources report which indicates that WCRL [West Coast Rock Lobster] is showing signs of recovery, the department... remains steadfast in our unwavering commitment to manage South African Fishery resources in an ecologically sound manner based on proven scientific principles," he said.

The WCRL allowance was determined through a consultation process and written submissions from affected parties.

The TAC apportioned to the commercial offshore sub-sector was set at 1356.56 tons, which was between 12 and 15% lower than last season.

The commercial nearshore sub-sector got 451 tons and the subsistence (small-scale/interim relief) sub-sector 276 tons, or 138kg per fisher, said Stevens.

During the last five years, fishers had been receiving smaller portions per individual. The original allocation was 320kg per fisher.

Stevens said the apportionment for the WCRL recreational fishing sub-sector remained unchanged and was still at four lobsters per person per day for the duration of the fishing season - from 15 November to 21 April, 2014, with breaks during this period.

The total number of fishing days for the 2013/2014 recreational season was 26. The size restriction remained 80mm carapace length.

Recreational fishing permits would be given to people above the age of 12 for R92 each at post offices. Lobsters caught by recreational fishers could not be sold.

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