Assessment of recreational boat-angling in a large estuarine embayment in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
An access point study was conducted from June 2002 to May 2003 to collect fishing effort, catch, catch composition and socio-economic information from the recreational estuarine boat-fishery in Richards Bay Harbour on the east coast of South Africa. An estimated 10 977 individual angler-outings were undertaken annually by 1 497 anglers during the study period. Numerically, retained catches were dominated by spotted grunter Pomatomus saltatrix, rockcod Epinephelus andersoni and stumpnose Rhabdosargus sarba. By mass, the most dominant species were pike conger Muraenesox bagio, dusky shark Carcharhinus obscurus and E. andersoni. The prevalence of marine species reflects the marine nature of the estuary, although many estuarine species also occurred in the catches. Catch rates were low, at 0.08 fish angler–1 h–1 or 0.11kg angler–1 h–1. The total annual retained catch was estimated at 3 827 fish with a mass of 5 355kg. Total annual expenditure on boat-angling in the harbour is estimated at R6 million, and together with the high proportion of local anglers, this underlines the importance of the estuarine fishery both socially and economically to residents of the uMhlathuze Municipality. Although there is a high presence of conservation officers in Richards Bay Harbour, contravention of regulations imposed on the recreational estuarine linefishery still occurs because estuarine boats are seldom inspected. Improved monitoring will generate a long-term data series of estuarine catches that will facilitate assessment of sustainability of the fishery.
Keywords: estuaries; harbour; line-fishing; recreation; Richards Bay
African Journal of Marine Science Vol. 29 (3) 2007: pp. 411-422