An assessment of participation, catch and effort in the offshore boat-based linefishery in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
AbstractThis study evaluates trends in participation, catch and effort in the KwaZulu-Natal offshore boat-based linefishery. Methods used included a random access-point survey and an associated questionnaire survey. The study was undertaken between February 2009 and April 2010. Total participation in all sectors (recreational, charter and commercial) ranged between 18 217 and 20 546 boat-fishers and between 2 582 and 3 326 boats. Similarly, total fisher effort in the offshore linefishery was estimated at 39 664 boat-outings y–1. The commercial boat sector had the highest catch per unit effort (CPUE) both numerically (307.4 fish outing–1) and by weight (235.6 kg outing–1). In contrasting, the recreational boat sector had the lowest CPUE both numerically (8.6 fish outing–1) and by weight (15.0 kg outing–1). In total, 86 fish species, belonging to 27 families, were recorded in catches of boat-fishers (all sectors) during the study period. Catch composition was similar with Chrysoblephus puniceus, Chrysoblephus anglicus and Lethrinus nebulosus being represented in the top five species of all three fishery sectors. Analysis of overall CPUE, catch composition and total catch of the offshore boat-based linefishery in KZN suggested that the fishery is currently in a relatively stable condition and that little change has occurred over the past 13 years. However, specific CPUE values from this study together with those reported in the literature suggest that some species may be severely overexploited. It is recommended that stock assessments of the priority species should be conducted in the near future and steps should be taken to encourage rebuilding of overexploited species. This must include urgent regulation of the burgeoning charter boat-fishery as well as increased attempts to establish more marine protected areas.
Keywords: access-point surveys, boat-fishing, catch composition, catch per unit effort (CPUE), charter, commercial, fishing effort, fisher participation, recreational, total catch
African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(1): 79–97