Fishing community concerned with reduced West Coast Rock Lobster catch quota

A TAC of 837 tons has been determined for the 2020/21 fishing season taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

A screengrab of West Coast Rock lobster. Picture: wwfsassi.co.za.

CAPE TOWN - The Fisheries Department on Friday said it had noted concerns raised by fishing communities about the reduction in the West Coast Rock Lobster total allowable catch (TAC).

A TAC of 837 tons has been determined for the 2020/21 fishing season, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

The department said it was acutely aware fishing communities, especially small-scale fishers, were more vulnerable to the impact of the recently announced reduction in the catch quota.

But it said the west coast rock lobster numbers are dwindling due to over-fishing, illegal fishing and climate change.

The 2021 updated assessment indicates the species' numbers have decreased more than expected in the past two years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on market demand for the majority of the 2019/20 season.

Among measures being considered by the department to address these challenges is beefing-up compliance-related efforts to combat poaching and over-fishing.

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