Sun. May 19th, 2024

Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), in consultation with relevant officials, has authorized a brief extension of the Nearshore West Coast Rock Lobster fishing season. The extension, spanning from April 15 to 19, comes in response to the recent spell of severe weather conditions in the Western Cape.

Expressing concern for the small-scale fishing cooperatives significantly impacted by the adverse weather, Creecy emphasized the need for flexibility in catching their full allocations. The decision to extend the fishing season was made following urgent verbal and written appeals received by the Ministry.

The Department issued a Public Notice on Friday, April 12, outlining the extension, which will be communicated to the Chairpersons of the Western Cape Small-scale cooperatives and the Nearshore Commercial right holders.

Additionally, Creecy highlighted that Fisheries Management had previously granted an exemption for fishing activities over the weekend of April 13 and 14.

The Western Cape region witnessed heavy downpours and strong winds prompting level 9 weather warnings from the South African Weather Service, indicating extreme and potentially damaging weather conditions.

The recreational West Coast Rock Lobster season, which commenced on December 16, 2023, concluded on April 1, 2024, with fishing restricted to 12 days within this period.

In light of the WWF judgment in the Cape High Court in September 2018, the DFFE reduced the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the 2023/2024 season by 16.43% compared to the previous fishing season.

“The harvesting of West Coast Rock Lobster at levels which do not facilitate growth of the resource is contrary to the judgment and constitutes a threat of serious and irreversible environmental damage,” stated the DFFE. As a result, a TAC of 460 tons for the 2023/2024 season has been determined, taking into account the projected influence of reductions in TAC and the limitation of the TAE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *