It is estimated that South Africa contributes about 21% to global abalone production. In 2008 South African mariculture comprised of abalone (1 037 tonnes), oysters (227 tonnes), mussels (737 tonnes), prawn (11 tonnes), fnfish (3 tonnes) and seaweeds (1 834 tonnes).
0.5% of South Africa’s GDP comes from commercial fisheries, and it provides employment for approximately 43 458 people, including seasonal and permanent employment. The annual catch (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Affairs-DAFF, 2012) is about 600 000 tonnes and worth R5.8 billion.
Prior to 1994 the South African fishing industry was predominantly run by white-owned companies. However, since then legislation and policies have been aimed at transforming commercial fishing to ensure equitable access to fishing rights for previously disadvantaged communities. In the past, fisheries were managed on the basis of a single species approach, which only considered the species being harvested, and with no consideration the effect on other organisms (e.g bycatch). Now, under the Marine Living Resources Act, a more holistic ecosystem strategy is used and more sustainable fishing practices are being employed, taking all marine organisms and processes into consideration.
South Africa has rich fishery resources with authorization to harvest commercially being given to a number of operators.
Who to contact
|Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
||Contact Number/ Email
(Deputy Director EC and KZN)
| 072 988 1876
(Assistant Director NEC, assisting KZN)
| 082 829 3907
(Acting Assistant Director KZN- landing, operational etc)
| 079 444 9951
(National Fisheries Management)
| 021 402 3019
|General Contact Number: 021 402 3911
The commercial fishing sector can be divided into highly industrialised fisheries - which generally operate offshore - and near-shore fisheries, which are generally more traditional and require less capital investment. Most of these are based on the west
coast of South Africa, with the less productive KZN waters supporting several smaller fisheries.
There are several, widely-differing types of commercial fishery in KZN, comprising:
- oyster gathering
- estuarine bait collecting
- beach seine-netting
- industrial trawling
- pelagic long-lining.
None of these activities are very extensive in scale, but they are of provincial significance as they provide employment as well as economic benefits to those who participate in them, while providing members of the public and the local hospitality industry
|The Fisheries division of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is the relevant authority for recreational and commercial fishing activities along the coast.
You will require a permit to harvest any living marine or estuarine organism irrespective of whether it is for recreational, commercial or subsistence purposes.
DAFF Fisheries compliance
The Directorate Compliance draws its mandate from the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) 18 of 1998, and its regulations. The area of responsibility stretches from Port Nolloth
on the West Coast to Punto D’ Oro on the East Coast; approximately 3200km.
Contact Fatima Savel (Director Compliance) on 021 402 3539
Monitoring and enforcement
It is to provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem, the long term sustainable utilization of the marine living resources and the orderly access to exploitation,
utilization and protection of certain marine living resources; and to exercise control over the marine living resources in a fair and equitable manner so as to benefit all the citizens of South Africa.
Contact Nkosinathi Dana (Director of Monitoring and Surveillance) on 021 402 3211
||021 402 3019
|Offshore & High Seas Fisheries
||021 402 3574
082 558 5837
|Small Scale Fisheries
||021 402 3344
|Inshore Fisheries Management
||021 402 3187
074 155 6333
||086 000 3474
Hotline/ Tip-off number for permit/ license holders that are in contravention of the MLRA: 082 313 2703
For more information on Commercial Fishing and Collection permits:
For more information on Fisheries:
Commercial Resources Uses
Departement of Forestry and Fisheries