Original Articles

The role of the Tsitsikamma National Park in the management of four shore-angling fish along the south-eastern Cape coast of South Africa


Abstract

The role of the Tsitsikamma National Park (TNP) in the management of four important shore-angling fish (Diplodus sargus capensis, Diplodus cervinus hottentotus, Pachymetopon grande and Dichistius capensis) was evaluated using data obtained from two independent studies conducted over a similar time period, along the south-eastern Cape coast of South Africa. Shore-angling catches were analysed from (i) data gathered from roving creel surveys conducted in the open access areas from Kei Mouth to Stil Bay between April 1994 and February 1996, and (ii) monthly research fishing conducted in the TNP between February 1995 and January 1997. Results from a tag and release study conducted within a small area (c. 5 km) of the TNP revealed that the four study species were resident. Size frequency analyses revealed that the mean individual length (and mass) of the four species was significantly higher in the TNP than in the open access areas. Catch per unit effort data suggest that the species were between five and 21 times more abundant in the TNP. Analysis of anglers' daily catches revealed that the current bag limits (five per person per day) were seldom reached or exceeded even within the TNP, indicating the ineffective nature of this restriction. This study confirms the value of marine protected areas as an effective tool for the management of these and possibly other resident reef-associated fish that are vulnerable to overexploitation.

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