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Gill net fishing

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Gill net fishing was first introduced into South Africa by Italian immigrants during the late 1800’s and has developed a strong cultural significance amongst some communities in the Western Cape. In South Africa, commercial gill net fishing is limited to the inshore waters along the West Coast, where approximately 160 permit holders land the two legal target species, southern mullet, Liza richardsonii and St Joseph sharks Callorhinchus capensis and up to 29 by-catch species. Much of the mullet catch is salted and dried and sold locally, whilst the St Joseph shark is exported to central African markets. In addition to the requirement of a commercial gill net permit, gear restrictions, area limitations, size and bag limits are enforced. Due to some degree of overlap in catch composition between the inshore gill net fishery and the commercial and recreational line fisheries, user conflict as well as the impact of gill net fishing on juveniles of some overexploited line fish species, are concerns for South Africa’s fisheries management body Marine & Coastal Management (MCM). The use of shore based fisheries observers is one of the management measure employed to address these concerns.

nchor Environmental Fisheries Observers record various fishery, catch and effort data for the Gill net fisheries as part of the Shore-Based Observer Program.  Further details for this program can be found on found here.   

South African Commercial gill-net fishing boats, with a large catch (ca 1 ton) of Liza richardsonii (left) and Callorhinchus capensis (right).

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