Coast KZN

19 Oct 2021

Shad season officially closed for now

Shona Aylward (South Coast Herald) Picture: Desmond Govender. Fishermen look for an early bite at Margate pier.

The closed season for shad this year is October 1 to November 30.

Closed seasons protect fish during vulnerable stages in their life cycles. The shad closed season protects the fish at the peak of their breeding season. Historically the closed season for shad has been one of the most effective management measures implemented for this important coastal fish species.

The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) said that protecting the bigger ‘blue shad’ at the peak of their spawning season, from October to November, when they are vulnerable to capture, allows these fish the opportunity to spawn and thus ensure the successful recruitment of the next generation of shad.

The lack of effective law enforcement, during the closed season in particular, has resulted in the excessive poaching of these important breeding fish.

The association said it can only hope that with the wisdom of hindsight, the responsible government department, namely the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, will again delegate the authority back to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to police beaches in order to enforce legislation.

Uniformed field rangers patrolling beaches has, historically, proven to be one of the most effective deterrents against rampant poaching.

Minimum size limits give fish a chance to breed at least once before they are caught and protects the fish when they are growing at their fastest. The minimum size limit for shad is 30 cm total length. Bag limits restrict daily catches so that there will be enough fish for everyone.


Bag limits restrict daily catches so that there will be enough fish for everyone. Scientists work out how many fish can be harvested safely. This information is used to set a bag limit that restricts the number of fish that can be caught per angler per day. This prevents more successful anglers from catching great numbers of fish, especially when the fish are ‘on the bite’, so leaving some behind for less successful anglers. The bag limit for shad is four per person per day.

Although shad may be harvested and sold commercially, in the Cape provinces you may not sell shad caught in KZN. The reason for this regulation is to help protect adult shad that migrate to KZN each year to breed.

(Source: SAAMBR)