The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has set the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and the recreational fishing of the West Coast Rock Lobster (WCRL) at 1084 tons for the 2018/19 season.
This is a 43.6% reduction from the TAC of 1924.08 tons determined for the 2017/18 fishing season.
The apportionments per sees commercial fishing (offshore) allocated the largest share with 575.48 tons followed by commercial fishing (nearshore), small-scale fishing sector (interim relief measure) and small-scale fishing sector (nearshore allocation), with all to receive 163.05 tons in the same period.
The recreational fishing and small-scale fishing sector (offshore allocation) have been allocated 38.76 and 143.71, respectively.
"The department will, similarly to the past fishing seasons, apply effort limitation to restrict the daily bag/catch limits and number of fishing days. The commercial and small-scale fishing sectors are authorised to undertake fishing for four (4) months in each Super-area/Zone," the department said.
The start and end dates for the fishing season per sector and Super-area/zone will be between November 2018 and July 2019.
The 2018/19 WCRL recreational fishing effort is limited to 12 days, the department said.
The 2018/19 WCRL recreational fishing season will open on Saturday, 15 December 2018 and will close on Sunday, 21 April 2019.
Fishing will be allowed as follows:
- From 15 December 2018 to 16 December 2018 (2 days);
- From 22 December 2018 to 23 December 2018 (2 days);
- On 26 December 2018 (1 day);
- From 29 December 2018 to 1 January 2019 (4 days); and
- From 19 April 2019 to 21 April 2019 (3 days).
According to Regulation 51, issued under the Marine Living Resources Act 18 of 1998 (MLRA), which provides that only persons over the age of 12 years may obtain from any authorized office, a recreational fishing permit to engage in fishing, collecting, keeping, controlling, landing or transporting of, or to be in possession of not more than four WCRL per day subject to the payment of R94 per permit.
"Fishing times for WCRL will be from 08h00 until 16h00 and the bag limit is four per person per day and the size restriction is 80 millimetres carapace length. No person catching WCRL with a recreational fishing permit may sell his/her catch and any WCRL caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state," the department said.
The Government Gazette Notice in respect of the recreational fishing season will be issued. Recreational west coast rock lobster permits are obtainable at the Post Office.