At the RERA AGM a report was made on the trawlers which have been fishing very close to the Rooiels shore since late November.
The attached summary gives you details of the situation. Rooielsers were making reports to Seawatch and various DAFF offices but were being told that it is legal. However given the scale of the problem we decided to investigate more closely and from all the legal documentation it is apparent that:
a) Nearshore permit holders (usually those in small boats) can only fish for kreef (West Coast Rock lobsters) with Hoop Nets and not Traps (the metal cages)
b) Offshore permit holders can use Traps and they are allowed to fish in False Bay but they are NOT allowed to do so within 1 nautical mile of the shore.
Therefore what has been happening is illegal and it is very serious for the marine resources.
If a vessel is here from 0500-1900 (14 hours) sets 30 traps, removes 10 kreef over 75mm and raises them once per hour, each vessel is taking 4200 per day. We have seen them set 50 traps, and we are told it is more likely 20 kreef harvested per net raised.
We ask you to please REPORT sightings of these Vessels. We are not sure if they have stopped coming because of the holidays this week, or because we have forwarded evidence to the Director of Inland Fisheries and the Special Operations Unit, thanks to contacts with a Fisheries expert who works internationally and also has a base in Bettys Bay. We thank him for his assistance and everyone who has been reporting and sending photos.
Please take note of Boat Name, if possible also get the Number, number of traps set, how long it is here and take a photo. But the most important is to phone or sms Kleinmond to report that the vessel is here and give the name. Also please can you email information on what you saw and who reported to, to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .
1. DAFF Kleinmond 028 271 4768
Insp Johan Fouché 084 408 6159 or Insp J P Kruger 082 570 6389
and/ or to Gordons Bay where those vessels offload : Jozi Tel 073 264 5953 (or if no reply to Titi 078 975 0272)
PLEASE send information on who reported to and copies of photos if taken to:
email@example.com so that we can compile all the evidence and use it to put pressure for action, if none is taken.
Fishing Trawlers plundering our seas: Report to RERA AGM
There has been much concern among Rooiels residents with the appearance of ocean going fishing trawlers trapping for kreef (West Coast Rock lobsters) in close proximity to our shores using square cage traps. Many residents (Helen and Alison, Piet Uys, Graham McCleland and many others) have made various reports to different DAFF offices in Kleinmond and Hermanus and also to Seawatch. The response of those receiving the reports is that there is nothing that can be done and it is out of their jurisdiction and that it is legal.
However this is a very serious problem and we felt we could not just ignore it. The West Coast Rock Lobster is considered to be under threat with data available on the decline in numbers, the change in occurrence and in considerably slowing in the rate of growth per year in the size of the kreef. This is the reason given for reduction in recreational fishing access and for almost no increase in the Nearshore small boat permits. The Offshore permits have increased. (sorry I have lost where I saw that table so cannot give the exact data.) Offshore vessels are removing probably somewhere between 2000 and 14000 per day per vessel from around Rooiels. (Estimates depend on assumptions of number of traps, number of 75mm kreef harvested per trap, frequency of clearing and length of time out here fishing: 50 traps, 20 size kreef per trap lifted, lifted once an hour from 0500-1900 hours = 14000).
Further investigation (with assistance of contacts through Estelle) has shown that the regulations and permit conditions allow Offshore boats access in Zone E (False Bay) but they are not allowed to fish within 1 nautical mile of the shore. The Offshore vessels are allowed to use traps (the square cages) but the boats with Nearshore permits only allow Hoop nets.
It is possible that some kind of exception to these Regulations and Permit Conditions has been given but it is highly unlikely since the Gazetted Policy was on 16th November, 2016. For now we proceed on the assumption that it is illegal activity. We are working on the assumption that because the Offshore vessels are allowed into False Bay, there has been a misunderstanding by the local authorities that this gives them access to the shoreline which is the reason when reporting everyone has been told it is legal.
Email letters with photographic evidence has been sent to the Director Inshore Fisheries and also to contacts in the Special Operations Unit. A conversation with one officer indicated that they are interested and requested the information, but said that we must make reports every time through our local Fishing Inspectorates. He said that if they have the names, dates and times, this can be checked and tracked through their Vessel Monitoring Unit. These vessels land at either Gordons Bay or Kalk Bay and so it is also important to alert Gordons Bay.
What we can do:
or to Gordons Bay where those vessels offload (Jozi Tel 0732645953 or if no reply to Tit 0789750272).
or if you prefer to do it yourself, to NomonisoJ@daff.gov.za in Gordons Bay, or to AnnettaB@daff.gov.za (Kleinmond, marked for the Attention of Mr. de Bruin) with a request for them to forward this to the appropriate unit but please copy RERA.
Chronology of Reported Sightings of Offshore Vessels kitted with and using Traps within 500 metres around the Rooiels Shoreline
Permit Conditions West Coast Rock Lobster (Offshore) Fishery 2015/2016, Approved on 30th September, 2015. Valid until 29 February 2016
Page 8, Article 3.5 Zone E: Area 11: The area north of a straight line drawn from the lighthouse at Cape Point to the lighthouse at Cape Hangklip excluding the area within 1 nautical mile from the high-water mark
In the early reporting names and boat numbers were not given, just information of the occurrence and we do not have a record of all the reports that were made. But we know reports were made to DAFF in Kleinmond and Hermanus and also to Seawatch by different people.
Recorded reports made:
30th November a report was made about a vessel that had been setting and clearing pots from 5 a.m. and was still active at 1900 hours
1st December a report was made about 2 vessels that had left traps in overnight
December 3rd and 4th there were several large vessels reported
Reports made to Insp. Fouche and Insp. de Bruin of Kleinmond among others
Atlantic Blessing and Western Debbie were recorded names
4th December at 0430 the Western Debbie was setting and lifting pots using lights that woke one resident and this was reported to both Kleinmond and Hermanus
Thereafter numerous reports were made on the Western Debbie and then also on the Laylas
Western Debbie (DTC 3579C SW 13)
Laylas (DTC 8084C).