A protocol is in effect from Friday for fishermen using trek-nets at popular surfing spot Muizenberg beach, the City of Cape Town said.

This was to minimise tension between fishermen and surfers, who came to loggerheads on Thursday when nets were cast into a swimming area to catch yellowtail, it said.

A meeting was held the same day between the relevant city departments, the trek-net permit holders, shark spotter representatives, and the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department.

The city decided everyone had equal access and rights to beaches.

It was agreed that trek-netters would contact the fisheries department and the shark spotters programme before casting their nets.

When boats were launched, shark spotters would close the beach and get everyone out the water, as there was an increased likelihood of shark activity around fishing nets. The city said this was also to prevent people from getting entangled.

The beach would be re-opened once fish were landed and no sharks were in sight.

“The trek-netters will also be held accountable for the actions and behaviour of all of the members of their trek teams,” the city said.

A commitment was made not to fish at Muizenberg during sanctioned and permitted events like surfing competitions.

Schools of yellowtail enter the bay up to five times a year, although in some years not at all. – Sapa