The total allowable catch for West Coast rock lobster is almost a quarter down from last year, the department of environment, forestry and fisheries has announced.
In a media release, the department reveals a 22.8% reduction from 1084 tonnes awarded in the 2019/20 fishing season.
The department has announced a total allowable catch (TAC) of 837 tonnes for the West Coast rock lobster (WCRL) for the 2020/21 fishing season.
According to the minister of environment, forestry and fisheries, Barbara Creecy, the TAC has been determined taking into account the impact of the global pandemic on the industry, the highly depleted status of the WCRL resource and lower-than expected resource status indicators.
For 2020/21 the offshore commercial fishing sector has been allocated 434.88 tonnes, while the commercial nearshore fishing sector has been assigned 131.03 tonnes.
The recreational fishing sector has been allocated 30.08 tonnes, and subsistence fishing will be allowed 131.03 tonnes.
The small-scale fishing offshore sector will be allowed 108.97 tonnes with nothing allocated for foreign fishing.
The new fishy normal
Like previous fishing seasons, the department said it would apply effort limits to restrict the daily catch limits and the number of fishing days.
The 2020/21 WCRL recreational fishing effort is limited to 12 days between 28 November 2020 and 3 April 2021:
- From 28 November 2020 to 29 November 2020 (2 days);
- From 12 December 2020 to 13 December 2020 (2 days);
- From 26 December 2020 to 27 December 2020 (2 days);
- From 1 January 2021 to 2 January 2021 (2 days);
- From 9 January 2021 to 10 January 2021 (2 days);
- From 2 April 2021 to 3 April 2021 (2 days).
“It should be noted that only persons over the age of 12 may obtain a recreational fishing permit allowing the fishing, collecting, keeping, controlling, landing, transporting of, or possession of not more than four WCRL per day. A permit costs R94 and can be purchased at the Post Office. A recreational fishing permit is valid for the entire season,” the department said.
Further recreational fishing limitations include:
- WCRL may be caught between 08h00 until 16h00.
- The bag limit is four per person per day and the size restriction is 80 millimetres carapace length.
- No person catching WCRL with a recreational fishing permit may sell their catch. Any lobster caught, collected or transported must be kept in whole.
The Government Gazette Notice in respect of the recreational fishing season will be issued.