Fishing for Tomorrow

by CapeNature

Goukamma Nature Reserve recently participated in a project to discuss and determine the challenges with regards to the recreational fish stock decline along the Garden Route coastline.

An angler talk with the theme being “Fishing for tomorrow – recreational angling – the bigger picture’ was held in Buffalo Bay, Knysna. The evening was aimed as a first to establish a relationship with The Goukamma Marine Research Project and its stakeholders and to create ‘responsible anglers’.

The Goukamma Marine Research Project is a combination between the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, World Wildlife Fund, CapeNature and Fairfield’s Travels as its sponsors. It involves the use of a Roving creel survey to monitor recreational angling within the Goukamma Marine Protected Area (MPA). The decline of line fish stocks have been declared into a legal state of emergency by the Minister of Environment and Tourism in 2000.

A well known researcher (Prof Colin Attwood from UCT), who documented twenty years of line fish research and reasons for collapse was one of the speakers. Carika van Zyl who is currently doing her Masters’ and executing the roving creel survey, gave feedback on the results found up to date which included spatial and temporal distribution of fishing effort, catch and target vs. catch results.

Most MPA’s are closed to all angling activity with Goukamma being one of the few exceptions. The monitoring program will try to ascertain if and to what extent fishing pressure is being exerted on the local fish stocks as well as establish whether the MPA is fulfilling its function in protection of the species while allowing recreational angling. From there management decisions such as full or partial closure can be drawn from
and better regulation of fishing activity.

A roving creel survey actively seeks out recreational anglers and each party gets interviewed from where data is extracted. This monitoring method has built up a data base of the amount of resource users and is a platform from which there can be communicated to the stakeholders. During the course of the study a confusion of environmental and legislative knowledge were picked up among the anglers. The relationship between conservation authorities and the angling community was found to be negative in general.

As part of the hand of friendship that is extended to the fisherman, a few prizes where handed out.

For further enquiries:
Keith Spencer – 0443830042

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