When plenty is not enough: an assessment of the white stumpnose (Rhabdosargus globiceps) fishery of Saldanha Bay, South Africa
White stumpnose Rhabdosargus globiceps is the main target of the linefishery in Saldanha Bay. Increased fishing pressure over the last three decades, particularly by the recreational sector, has led to concerns regarding sustainability of the local white stumpnose stock. The fishery was exceptionally productive between 2006 and 2008, with an estimated annual catch of 141.2 tonnes (t). Only 3% of boat outings surveyed were commercial boats targeting white stumpnose, yet this sector accounted for 39.3 t (31%) of the average annual catch. The recreational boat sector accounted for most of the catch (70.0 t), and the recreational shore sector the least (31.9 t). Commercial boat catch per unit effort (CPUE; 3.7 fish angler–1 h–1) was more than 10 times that of recreational boats (0.3 fish angler–1 h–1). White stumpnose catch length-frequency differed significantly (p < 0.01) between the fishing sectors, with the commercial sector retaining larger fish (34.7 cm [SD 5.9]) than the recreational boat (33.9 cm [SD 5.9]) and shore (30.4 cm [SD 5.8]) sectors. A decline in commercial CPUE (2000–2015) of approximately 40% and a concomitant severe decline (>95%) in survey data for juvenile white stumpnose CPUE (2007–2016) indicate that the current rate of exploitation is not sustainable. Recovery of the white stumpnose stock will require a decrease in fishing mortality. Possible management regulations include sector-specific effort limitations, extending the ‘no take’ marine protected area, reducing the recreational-sector bag limit to 5 fish person–1 day–1, implementing a commercial-sector bag limit, and increasing the minimum size limit to 30 cm TL.
Keywords: angling, annual yield, catch and effort, Langebaan Lagoon, linefish, recruitment survey, roving creel survey, temperate sparid