Original Articles

A knowledge base for management of the capital-intensive fishery for small pelagic fish off South Africa


Abstract

As a contribution to South Africa's move towards an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, this study explores the existence of common perceptions about South Africa's pelagic fishery between resource users and scientists. It represents a collaborative research effort of social and natural scientists. A brief overview is given of the southern Benguela upwelling ecosystem and small pelagic fish resources, the fishery, and management of the fishery. Stakeholder knowledge and views were determined by conducting open-ended qualitative local knowledge interviews. Candidate indicators to address five major issues raised in the interviews were selected: length-at-50% maturity, total mortality, exploitation rate, proportion of bycatch, mean length of catch, and centre of gravity of catches. The indicator approach is shown to be a useful tool to manage the South African small pelagic fishery, and can be made compatible with existing management approaches. The foundation of a good adaptive fisheries management system is a data collection system that enables multi-disciplinary analysis and provides a basis on which decisions can be made.

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