Original Articles

Assessment of the Linefishery in Two Urban Estuarine Systems In Kwazulu-natal, South Africa


The recreational linefisheries in Durban Harbour and the Mgeni Estuary were surveyed using roving creel and access-point surveys during the period January–December 2000. In total, 3 351 shore-anglers and 652 boat-anglers were checked for catch-and-effort information, and 432 shore-anglers were interviewed using a demographic and socio-economic questionnaire. Durban Harbour had much higher angling effort than the Mgeni Estuary. Angling activity was higher on weekends (121 and 23 anglers per count for the harbour and Mgeni Estuary respectively) than during the week (34 and 9 anglers per count respectively). Total effort expended in Durban Harbour and the Mgeni Estuary shore-fisheries during 2000 was estimated to be 54 024 and 11 977 angler-outings respectively. Annual effort for the Durban Harbour boat-fishery for the same period was estimated to be 9 991 angler-outings. The flathead mullet Mugil cephalus was the most commonly harvested species in both Durban Harbour and the Mgeni Estuary shore-fisheries (25.2 and 68.1% respectively), and spotted grunter Pomadasys commersonnii (41.5%) was the most commonly harvested species in the Durban Harbour boat-fishery. Because of their small size, a large proportion (>63%) of the total fish catch at both localities was released. Mean catch per unit effort for the Durban Harbour boat-based fishery (0.11 fish angler−1 h−1 or 0.15 kg angler−1 h−1) was higher than that of the shore-based fishery (0.071 fish angler−1 h−1 or 0.034 kg angler−1 h−1). The questionnaire survey indicated that anglers had high site fidelity, considerable years of fishing experience (mean of 17.2 years for the harbour, 13.6 years for Mgeni) and high compliance with possession of fishing permits (86% harbour, 84% Mgeni). Although anglers generally supported the regulations currently applicable to the linefishery (>71% harbour, >77% Mgeni), the questionnaire results showed that specific knowledge for target species was poor (45–70% harbour, 29–60% Mgeni). The level of fisheries law enforcement (6.4% of harbour outings inspected, 7% Mgeni outings inspected) was poorer than in the previously studied KwaZulu-Natal marine shore-fishery. Economic investment by participants in terms of angling equipment used in the shore-fisheries of the two systems was calculated to be >R10 million, and expenditure in terms of bait, travel and tackle costs was approximately R9 million per year.

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