EAST OF FALSE BAY AND EASTERN CAPE ABALONE EXPERIMENTS
On 3 November 2010 the Acting Deputy Director-General: Fisheries Management
approved the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the 2010/2011 commercial abalone
fishing season. In the submission a TAC of 150 tonnes of abalone was recommended
and approved. Also recommended was an experimental allocation of 12 tonnes for the
east side of False Bay (area from the Steenbras River mouth to Cape Hangklip), and
1.5 tonnes in seven areas in the Eastern Cape that are not currently marine reserves
(a total of 10.5 tonnes for the Eastern Cape).
In order to implement the above experimental approvals an experimental design and
or an implementation plan had to be developed.
2. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN
The experimental design was developed by the department together with the zonal
representatives of the commercial abalone right holders. In total there are 303
commercial abalone right holders.
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2.1. THE EXPERIMENTAL OBJECTIVES
The objectives of the experiment are:
To investigate the spatial distribution and availability of the abalone resource in
False Bay and Eastern Cape.
To determine the viability of a future sustainable commercial abalone fishery in
False Bay and Eastern Cape.
To allocate catches in additional areas as a means to providing further relief for
the commercial abalone right holders.
To assist in accommodating the commercial abalone right holders in zones
close to areas where they reside.
To allocate legal access to harvest the abalone resource, on an experimental
basis in the Eastern Cape.
To encourage collaborative approaches to research and management.
2.2. THE KEY EXPERIMENTAL QUESTIONS
The key experimental questions that need to be addressed are as follows:
What is the spatial distribution of abalone on the east side of False Bay and
What is the age and size composition of the experimental catch on the east side of
False Bay and Eastern Cape?
What is the relative abundance of the resource on the east side of False Bay and
What is the size structure of the abalone resource on the east side of False Bay
and Eastern Cape?
Are there sufficient abalones on the east side of False Bay and Eastern Cape to
sustain a viable future commercial fishery or small-scale fishery?
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3. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
3.1 FALSE BAY: IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
The recommended duration for the experiment in the east side of False Bay is 3
fishing seasons (until the end of the 2012/2013 season) and the allocation for the next
seasons will be subject to the review of the experiment. It has also been
recommended that the east side of False Bay should be divided into 3 sub-areas and
the 12 tonnes should be divided into the sub-areas as follows:
FB east sub-area 1: Cape Hangklip Lighthouse to Buffels River mouth = 6 tons
FB east sub-area 2: Buffels River mouth to The Point = 3 tons
FB east sub-area 3: The Point to Steenbras River mouth = 3 tons
The above would enable proper collection of scientific data that can be used in
answering the key questions.
There are also three options recommended for the east side of False Bay experiment
and they are follows:
Option 1: Limit diving effort, but allocate a share of the catch in the
experimental area on the east side of False Bay to all existing commercial
abalone right holders.
Option 2: Allocate to all Zone D and to some Zone C right holders their full
quanta from 12 tons allocated in the experimental area.
Option 3: Allocate partial allocations to Zone D and some Zone C right holders
in the area on the east side of False Bay and the balance of their allocations in
a commercial zone with allocated TAC.
Though Options 2 and 3 are the most favoured options, if one of them was to be
implemented in the east side of False Bay it would have been proper to implement it at
the start of the 2010/2011 commercial abalone fishing season (the season started in
November 2010 and will end on the 31st of July 2011) as this will have an impact on
the way the abalone TAC of 150 tonnes is apportioned to right holders (the current
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zones where the right holders are allocated to fish and their abalone allocations would
Option 1 would be easy to implement as it does not have an impact on the 2010/2011
commercial abalone fishing season. This option gives equal share and benefits to all
the commercial abalone right holders. In addition, the risks involved are spread
amongst all the commercial right holders. Possible risks include:
- the difficulties in harvesting abalone in the area, as well as
- uncertainties with the costs that would be incurred during the implementation
process (e.g. costs of running a vessel during the harvesting process).
The operational procedure with regards to fishing or harvesting, processing and
marketing of commercial abalone will be followed in the east side of False Bay
3.2. EASTERN CAPE: IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
There is currently no person or company permitted to harvest abalone in the Eastern
Cape. Seven areas were identified to be potential areas for the abalone experiment in
the Eastern Cape and the areas are as follows:
Area 1: Western Sunshine Coast (Groot River to Kabeljous River –
approximately 85 kilometers),
Area 2: Port Elizabeth (Maitlands River to Port Elizabeth Harbour –
approximately 45 kilometers),
Area 3: Eastern Sunshine Coast (Cannon Rocks to Great Fish River
approximately 65 kilometers),
Area 4: Southern Border-Kei (Great Fish River to Chalumna River
approximately 53 kilometers),
Area 5: Border-Kei west (Chalumna River to Buffalo River – approximately 39
Area 6: Border-Kei east (Buffalo River to Kie River – approximately 65
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Area 7: Wild Coast (Great Kei River to western boundary of Dwesa-Cwebe
Reserve – approximately 65 kilometers)
The experimental allocation approved for each area is 1.5 tonnes. The experiment in
the Eastern Cape is recommended to run for the next 3 seasons (until the end of the
2012/2013 season) and the allocations for the next season would be subject to
reviews of the experiment.
The plan with the abalone experiment in the Eastern Cape is to also test some of the
recommendations as set out in the Draft Policy for the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector in
South Africa. It is, therefore, recommended that:
A legal entity is created in each community to represent the fishers.
Catches be initially made on behalf of each community by licensed diver(s).
Licensed divers train one or two divers from the community during the first
period of the experiment in the Eastern Cape.
A Fish Processing Establishment (FPE) and/or holding facilities to be used in
processing of the catch is identified or established in the Eastern Cape.
All catches initially be processed and exported by a single service provider
appointed by DAFF.
Therefore, if the fishery is deemed to be viable after three years, a permanent fishery
with allocations for each area will be established.
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4. STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION
In both False Bay and the Eastern Cape, the final implementation plans will be
discussed with the relevant stakeholders for their approval. There has been some
consultation undertaken in the Eastern Cape where potential participants were
identified and operational issues with regard to the experiment were discussed.
5. START OF THE EXPERIMENT
It is envisaged that the experimental fishery in the east side of False Bay could be
initiated by the beginning of April 2011, whereas the one in the Eastern Cape is
envisaged to start by mid-May 2011.
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