Moegamat Pather with West Coast rock lobster. File photo: ANA/Neil Baynes
Moegamat Pather with West Coast rock lobster. File photo: ANA/Neil Baynes

2020/21 season West Coast rock lobster total allowable catch set at 837 tons

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Oct 25, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - The environment, forestry, and fisheries department on Sunday announced a total allowable catch (TAC) of 837 tons for the 2020/21 West Coast rock lobster (WCRL) fishing season.

The TAC of 837 tons had been determined taking into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, the highly depleted status of the West Coast rock lobster resource, and lower-than expected resource status indicators, the department said in a statement.

Covid-19 had a negative impact on market demand for the majority of the 2019/20 season, with losses being incurred by the WCRL fishing sector. The catch allowance for the new season was intended to assist the sector in their economic recovery, Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy said in the statement.

The 2020/21 TAC was a 22.8 percent reduction of the TAC of 1084 tons for the 2019/20 fishing season, the department said.

For 2020/21, the offshore commercial fishing sector had been allocated 435.88t; nearshore commercial fishing 131.03t; recreational fishing 30.08t; subsistence (interim relief measure) fishing and nearshore small-scale fishing 131.03t; offshore small-scale fishing 108.97t; and foreign fishing 0.00.

Similar to previous fishing seasons, the department would apply effort limits to restrict the daily bag/catch limits and the number of fishing days. The commercial and small-scale fishing sectors were authorised to undertake fishing for four months in each super-area/zone during the season.

The 2020/21 recreational fishing effort was limited to 12 days between November 28, 2020 and April 3, 2021 on particular days and between set hours, with a bag limit of four per person per day and size restriction of 80mm carapace length. No person catching WCRL with a recreational fishing permit may sell their catch and any lobster caught, collected, or transported must be kept whole.

"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.

- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet

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