The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has announced the total allowable catch (TAC) and the 2014/15 recreational fishing season for west coast rock lobster (WCRL).

The DAFF and the WCRL-sector have committed themselves to rebuild the 2006 biomass of male west coast rock lobster above the 75 mm carapace length minimum size limit, by 35% by 2021. To achieve the targeted objective of the recovery plan, the global TAC for the 2014/2015 fishing season has been determined at 1801 tons which translates to a 16.79% global reduction when compared with the global TAC for the 2013/2014 fishing season.

The 2014/15 global TAC has been apportioned as follow:

Commercial Fishing (Offshore): 1120.25 tons (previously 1356.56 tons);

Commercial Fishing (Nearshore): 376.10 tons (previously 451 tons);

Subsistence (Interim Relief Measure) Fishing: 235.45 tons (previously 276 tons); and

Recreational Fishing: 69.20 tons (previously 83.5 tons)

The 2014/15 season for recreational fishing of WCRL will open on Sunday, 15 November 2014, and will close on Monday, 6 April 2014. Effort will be restricted to 21 days and will be split as follow:

Fishing allowed from 15 November 2014 to 16 November 2014 (2 days)

No fishing allowed from 17 November 2014 until 15 December 2014

Fishing allowed from 16 December 2014 to 16 December 2014 (1 day)

No fishing allowed from 17 December 2014 until 19 December 2014

Fishing allowed from 20 December 2014 to 2 January 2015 (14 days)

No fishing allowed from 3 January 2015 until 2 April 2015

Fishing allowed from 3 April 2015 to 6 April 2015 (4 days)

No recreational fishing of WCRL be allowed in the area between a line in the north (330°true bearing) drawn from the co-ordinate 33º15’00”S and 18º07’00”E in respect of Zone C and as a southern boundary the northern beacon MB1 of the WCRL sanctuary at Melkbos Point, which is also known as Area 7 (Dassen Island).

Only persons over the age of 12 years may apply for a recreational fishing permit and only four WCRL can be landed per day between 08:00 and 16:00. The size restriction is 80 millimetres carapace length. The permit fee is R94. No person catching WCRL with a recreational permit may sell his/her catch and any WCRL caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state. A maximum of 20 WCRL’s may be transported per day on condition that all the persons who caught such WCRL’s are present in the vehicle, vessel or aircraft during transportation and that such persons are in possession of recreational WCRL permits.