Long-term trends in the competitive shore fishery along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa
Twenty-four years (1977–2000) of competitive shore angling catch and effort data from the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Anglers Union for the province of KwaZulu-Natal were analysed. Of a minimum of 117 species recorded, the most commonly caught species were dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) (26%), milk shark (Rhizoprionodon acutus) (18%) and shad (Pomatomus saltatrix) (10%). By weight, the top species were dusky shark (34%) and diamond ray (Gymnura natalensis) (19%). All the above species showed considerable inter-annual variation in their respective contributions to annual catch. Probably as a result of changes in fishing patterns, dusky shark and milk shark showed a general decline in percentage contribution to catch over the period, while contributions of lesser guitarfish (Rhinobatos annulatus), giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), diamond ray (Gymnura natalensis) and brown ray (Himantura gerrardi) increased. Mean overall annual cpue by number and weight showed a non-significant increase over the period, while each of the investigated species showed a constant trend in mean annual weight. There were high proportions of juveniles in the catches of dusky shark (100%), dusky kob (92%) and giant guitarfish (78%). Improvements made to the structure of shore angling competitions and the overall contribution of competition angling to resource management in South Africa is discussed.
Key words: KwaZulu-Natal, competition shore fishery, catch composition, cpue, targeting, fishing tackle advancement.