Original Articles

An evaluation of participation in and management of the South African spearfishery


An evaluation of participation and management of the South African spearfishery was undertaken by analysing spearfishing catch and effort data stored on the National Marine Linefish System (NMLS) and by conducting a creel and questionnaire survey. Results indicated that the spearfishery is the smallest sector of the linefishery, with an estimated 7 000 participants and an annual compounded growth rate of 6.14%. Regional comparisons of catch composition and catch-per-unit-effort (cpue) were made, although spearfishing data stored on the NMLS were biased in favour of KwaZulu-Natal. Analysis of the data from KwaZulu-Natal showed little evidence of a decline in cpue or significant changes in species composition between 1984 and 1995. However, considerable overlap was noted between catches of spearfishermen and those made by other sectors of the linefishery. Of the 950 postal questionnaires sent to KwaZulu-Natal licence-holders, 152 (16%) were returned. A further 38 personal interviews and 74 creel inspections were completed during shore patrols and boat inspections in the Eastern and Western Cape. Spearfishermen interviewed generally showed a positive response to the current linefish management measures and, other than for minimum size limits, compliance with the regulations was good. A number of suggestions for improving management of the spearfishery are discussed.

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