MARINE RECREATIONAL ANGLING DATA COLLECTION IN KWAZULU-NATAL: QUO VADIS?
Bruce Mann and Jade Maggs
South African Association of Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), Oceanographic Research Institute

 

Abstract
Catch and effort data have been formally collected in the marine recreational linefishery in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) since 1984. The primary aim of this has been to monitor trends in abundance of key angling species in order to inform management and ultimately to ensure their sustainable use. This monitoring system, which is known as the National Marine Linefish System (NMLS), was set up as a partnership between three organisations, namely: the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) and the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI). DAFF is partly responsible for funding the project and storage of the data, EKZNW is responsible for collecting the data during routine shore patrols and boat inspections and ORI is responsible for data capture, validation, analyses and reporting. Overall, the NMLS has been an extremely successful long-term monitoring project that has resulted in the improved management of the recreational linefishery in KZN and the publication of a large number of peer-reviewed papers, reports and popular articles. It has thus had the desired effect of informing and guiding management, as well as improving angler awareness. However, the data collection suffers from a known bias in that it is collected by fishery control officers whose primary purpose is ensuring compliance with fisheries regulations. As a consequence, data collection is skewed towards areas and times with higher fishing effort and towards high profile species such as shad. Nevertheless, this bias is relatively consistent over time and the nearly 30 year old data set is considered to be very valuable. Recent decisions taken by the Compliance Directorate within DAFF which omit collection of crucial effort data, threaten to halt the future of the NMLS as a long-term catch and effort monitoring system in KZN. Careful and strategic decision-making is thus required to determine the future of this important monitoring programme.
Presentation Topic
MARINE RECREATIONAL ANGLING DATA COLLECTION IN KWAZULU-NATAL: QUO VADIS?
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