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A decade of illegal fishing in Table Mountain National Park (2000–2009): trends in the illicit harvest of abalone <i>Haliotis midae</i> and West Coast rock lobster <i>Jasus lalandii</i>

GC Brill
SJPN Raemaekers


Illegal fishing activities are reported to be on the increase in South Africa, including in its marine protected areas (MPAs). Research is presented on the nature and the scale of illegal fishing in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) by analysing the numbers of abalone Haliotis midae and West Coast rock lobster Jasus lalandii  confiscated from fishers operating in the park’s marine protected area between 2000 and 2009. Data were collected from offence logbooks maintained by South African National Parks rangers and managers, the South African Police Services, and interviews with alleged or self-confessed illegal fishers. The research findings indicate that the annual numbers of illegally fished abalone and rock lobsters have increased significantly over time. Spatial analysis suggests that confiscations of abalone occur predominantly on the east coast of the park, whereas higher confiscations of illegally fished rock lobsters occur on the west coast. It is clear from this research that new and more efficient approaches will need to be designed and implemented to minimise illegal fishing in the TMNP MPA. Contextspecific conservation targets that acknowledge and integrate social as well as developmental needs are required, and may be essential for limiting biodiversity loss in the longer term, which will ultimately ensure the success of fisheries management and conservation in TMNP.

Keywords: confiscations, IUU fishing, marine protected area (MPA), poaching

African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(4): 491–500