Coast KZN


Marine Living Resources Act

MLRA aims to ensure the conservation of marine living resources, marine biodiversity and reduction of marine pollution. The MRLA encourages precautionary measures to be taken in the management and development of marine resources and promotes the sustainable use of these resources to achieve economic growth.

Marine Living Resources Act

Act No. 18 of 1998

To provide for the conservation of the marine ecosystem, the long-term sustainable utilisation of marine living resources and the orderly access to exploitation, utilisation and protection of certain marine living resources; and for these purposes to provide for the exercise of control over marine living resources in a fair and equitable manner to the benefit of all the citizens of South Africa; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The purpose of the Act is:

  • to achieve optimum utilisation and ecologically sustainable development of marine living resources;

  • the need to conserve marine living resources for both present and future generations;

  • the need to apply precautionary approaches in respect of the management and development of marine living resources;

  • the need to utilise marine living resources to achieve economic growth, human resource development, capacity building within fisheries and mariculture branches, employment creation and a sound ecological balance consistent with the development objectives of the national government;

  • the need to protect the ecosystem as a whole, including species which are not targeted for exploitation;

  • the need to preserve marine biodiversity;

  • the need to minimise marine pollution;

  • the need to achieve to the extent practicable a broad and accountable participation in the decision-making processes provided for in this Act;

  • any relevant obligation of the national government or the Republic in terms of any international agreement or applicable rule of international law; and

  • the need to restructure the fishing industry to address historical imbalances and to achieve equity within all branches of the fishing industry.

Chapters of the Marine Living Resources Act:

Chapter 1: Introductory Provisions

Objectives and principles
Application of act
Conflict with other acts

Chapter 2: Administration

Establishment of Forum
Functions of Forum
Composition of Forum
Industrial bodies and interest groups
Fishery control officers and honorary marine conservation officers
Marine Living Resources Fund
Appropriation of Fund

Chapter 3: Management of Marine Living Resources

Fisheries planning
Local fishing
Commercial fishing
General local matters
Fisheries transformation council
Foreign fishing
High seas fishing

Chapter 4: Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas

Chapter 5: Prohibited Activities and Stowage of Gear

Prohibited fishing methods
Possession of prohibited gear
Interference with gear
Driftnet fishing
Fish aggregating devices
Stowage of gear

Chapter 6: Law Enforcement

Powers of fishery control officers
Powers of fishery control officers beyond South African waters
Seizure of vessels
Seizure of vehicles or aircraft
Immobilisation of vessels, vehicles or aircraft
Co-operation with officials
Duty to report

Chapter 7: Judicial Matters

Offences and penalties
Limitation of liability
Destruction of evidence
Payment for information leading to conviction
Security for release of vessel, vehicle or aircraft
Disposal of perishables
Treatment of things detained or seized
Application of security
Liability for loss, damage or deterioration of things in custody
Removal from custody
Forfeiture orders by court
Disposal of forfeited things and discharge of forfeiture orders
Jurisdiction of courts
Documentary evidence
Validity of certificates
Certificate as to location of vessel
Designated machines
Photographic evidence
Observation devices

Chapter 8: General Provisions

Power to make regulations
Assignment to provinces
Delegation of powers
Appeal to Minister
Scientific investigations and practical experiments
Repeal of laws, and savings
Transitional measures
Short title and commencement