When plenty is not enough: an assessment of the white stumpnose (Rhabdosargus globiceps) fishery of Saldanha Bay, South Africa

Published in: African Journal of Marine Science
Volume 39, issue 2, 2017 , pages: 153–166
DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2017.1328371
Author(s): D ParkerFisheries Management Branch, Department of Agriculture, South Africa, SE KerwathFisheries Management Branch, Department of Agriculture, South Africa, TF NæsjeNorwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Norway, CJ ArendseSouth African National Parks, Rondevlei Scientific Services (Garden Route National Park), South Africa, FJ Keulder-StenevikSars Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, Norway, K HutchingsAnchor Environmental Consultants, South Africa, BM ClarkAnchor Environmental Consultants, South Africa, H WinkerFisheries Management Branch, Department of Agriculture, South Africa, PD CowleySouth African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), South Africa, CG AttwoodDepartment of Biological Sciences, South Africa


White stumpnose Rhabdosargus globiceps is the main target of the linefishery in Saldanha Bay. Increased fishing pressure over the last three decades, particularly by the recreational sector, has led to concerns regarding sustainability of the local white stumpnose stock. The fishery was exceptionally productive between 2006 and 2008, with an estimated annual catch of 141.2 tonnes (t). Only 3% of boat outings surveyed were commercial boats targeting white stumpnose, yet this sector accounted for 39.3 t (31%) of the average annual catch. The recreational boat sector accounted for most of the catch (70.0 t), and the recreational shore sector the least (31.9 t). Commercial boat catch per unit effort (CPUE; 3.7 fish angler–1 h–1) was more than 10 times that of recreational boats (0.3 fish angler–1 h–1). White stumpnose catch length-frequency differed significantly (p < 0.01) between the fishing sectors, with the commercial sector retaining larger fish (34.7 cm [SD 5.9]) than the recreational boat (33.9 cm [SD 5.9]) and shore (30.4 cm [SD 5.8]) sectors. A decline in commercial CPUE (2000–2015) of approximately 40% and a concomitant severe decline (>95%) in survey data for juvenile white stumpnose CPUE (2007–2016) indicate that the current rate of exploitation is not sustainable. Recovery of the white stumpnose stock will require a decrease in fishing mortality. Possible management regulations include sector-specific effort limitations, extending the ‘no take’ marine protected area, reducing the recreational-sector bag limit to 5 fish person–1 day–1, implementing a commercial-sector bag limit, and increasing the minimum size limit to 30 cm TL.

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