Illegal fishing flourishing in KZN, says Oceanographic Research Institute

Posted By Stop Illegal Fishing:20th Apr, 2019: Impacts of Illegal Fishing

Based on the results of the recent survey, recommendations were made for the improved management of the KZN shore fisheries.
Illegal fishing activities are on the rise, a dismaying reality which became clear during a recent year-long aerial survey by SAAMBR’s Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI).

The Bateleurs’ pilots covered just over 14,000 kilometers along the KZN coastline, going up and down from Umtamvuna to Kosi Bay from January to December 2018 to count shore anglers with ORI senior scientist Dr Bruce Mann, reports North Coast Courier.

After 44 flights and about 97 hours of flying, Dr Mann said they found a 6,9% decline in shore anglers compared to a similar aerial survey in 2007-2008. The number of illegal activities, however, have very clearly increased.

“Activities seen from the air included illegal beach driving, particularly in the Richards Bay and Mtunzini zones, and illegal gill-netting in the Amatikulu and Thukela/ Tugela estuaries,” said Dr Mann.

“Regular communication with anglers along the coast also suggested that the amount of poaching taking place and the disregard for bag and size limits has increased substantially since Ezemvelo staff were removed from the coast.

“This situation urgently needs to be addressed by increasing the number of well-trained and well-equipped fisheries control officers stationed along the KZN coast.”

He said based on the results of the survey, recommendations were made for the improved management of the KZN shore fisheries.

“The similar results suggest that relatively little change has taken place to reduce the possible reasons for the apparent decline in fishing.”

Dr Mann said the reasons for the decline back in 2008 and now could be:

  • Increased crime and security concerns imposing a greater risk to anglers.
  • The beach vehicle ban means anglers can no longer access remote fishing destinations in vehicles driven along the beach.
  • The increasing price of fuel, tackle and bait.
  • Declining catch rates means lower chances of success during fishing outings.
  • Alternative sources of entertainment competing with angling.

Source: Citizen

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