Original Articles

An evaluation of attitudes and responses to monitoring and management measures for the South African boat-based linefishery


The boat-based linefishery in South African waters was investigated between 1994 and 1996. Methods involved a combination of access point and questionnaire surveys to collect catch and effort data, and to assess responses to management measures by the commercial and recreational fishing sectors. Compulsory catch returns submitted from commercial vessels were validated from direct observations. Results revealed substantial errors in compulsory catch returns; where over-reporting was high, it was not possible to quantify these statistically because of the high variance obtained when combining these data with both nil returns and under-reporting. Where over-reporting was negligible, statistical assessment was possible for some key species and areas. These were calculated to be under-reported by an overall factor of 2.87±0.94. The inclusion of the recreational component of the overall catch provides the most comprehensive coverage of that sector to date. The results indicate that increased attention should be paid to monitoring recreational and "subsistence" fisheries, particularly in the Cape. Most fishermen agreed with the current regulations governing the linefishery, but many did not know or obey those pertaining to the species they had landed at the time of being interviewed. Although most respondents had been inspected by the local fisheries inspectorate at least once during the previous 12 months, these results clearly indicate the inspection rate to be inadequate. Regionally, between 22 and 58% of recreational fishermen admitted to selling their catch, a conservative estimate because of the reluctance of many fishermen to admit to breaking the law. Considering the high levels of bias and inaccuracy of data currently captured onto the National Marine Linefish System, there seems to be motivation for phasing out existing compulsory and voluntary submitted catch and effort returns (both commercial and recreational) and replacing them with data collected at key landing sites by trained coastal observers. Also, observer efforts should be focused on species, areas and sectors dictated by management requirements. In addition, law enforcement and education of the various fishery sectors must receive priority if the future management of the linefishery is to be

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