South Africa: Ban On Octopus Fishing Is Lifted, but Mitigation Measures Muddy the Water

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The company that holds the exploratory octopus trapping permit for False Bay will be allowed to resume work - subject to stringent mitigation measures.

Twenty weeks after Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy placed a temporary ban on octopus fishing in False Bay, the exploratory industry will be allowed to put boats back into the water and fishers on the sea. But the bay will be empty of octopus gear over this weekend.

Creecy implemented the ban on June 28, following an outcry from the public after the fatal entanglement of an endangered Bryde's whale in June. Fishers were told to remove all of their gear from the water and down tools until a decision about the octopus fishery was made by a working group of scientists, policymakers and others.

More than four months later, the decision to keep the fishery alive comes after Cape Town Octopus retrenched all of its staff and put its boats up for sale. So, while the company is technically allowed to put its gear back into the water today (Friday 15 November), it does not have any staff to handle the lines.

Garry Nel, who is the director and shareholder of Cape...

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