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 (previous 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.
The Fisheries division of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) is the relevant authority for recreational and commercial fishing activities along the coast.
Who to contact: Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE)
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
Hotline/ Tip-off number for permit/ license holders that are in contravention of the MLRA: 082 313 2703