SAFTAD have funded an Economic Survey of the Recreational Fishery (all facets in marine and freshwater sectors), which was conducted over the past two years by a multi-disciplinary and multi-national team of researchers spearheaded by Dr Warren Potts from the Department of Ichthyology at Rhodes University. The survey also had the support of the Department of Trade and Industry which supplied additional funds. The purpose of the survey was to provide policy makers with information on the socio-economic importance of recreational fisheries. A meeting has also been held between members of the research team and DAFF to present the results. DAFF are currently reviewing the study report and are yet to decide whether to endorse it or not. Some of the key findings of this survey and other recreational fisheries research from the past few years were addressed in a letter to DAFF and are detailed below.
As you may be aware, we have been conducting a great deal of recreational fisheries research over the last three years or so. Included in this is a national survey of marine shore based recreational fisheries compliance (Rhodes University), a marketing analysis and an estimate of the economic significance of recreational angling to South Africa (Rhodes University, University of the Northwest, ORI, SAIAB, ORI, UCT) which includes all sectors and environments, research on the health and survival of released fishes and a global review of recreational fisheries governance with the aim of identifying suitable model for developing countries (Rhodes University, CEFAS).
To give you an idea, our results have essentially shown the following:
- Recreational fishing contributes massively to the SA economy and employment of South Africans.
- The food/fun nexus is widening in our recreational fisheries. I.e. Increasingly, recreational fishers are becoming more reliant on the fish that they catch as part of their daily food requirements. Many poor people are participate in the recreational fishery or categorized as recreational fishermen.
- Poor compliance in the marine recreational fisheries is threatening sustainability and inhibiting the development of subsistence and small-scale fisheries. There are some potentially cost effective methods that can be used to improve compliance.
- Poor compliance to some regulations in freshwater fisheries is causing conservation concerns.
- There are a range of alternative methods (other than enforcement) that have been shown to improve recreational fisheries compliance.
- Many released (mandatory or voluntary) fishes do not survive catch and release (C&R) event, but it is possible to improve angler C&R behaviour through appropriate interventions.
- Contemporary best practice for governance of recreational fisheries requires recognition of the economic benefits and contribution of recreational fisheries to societal well being; active co-management, with potential devolution of some authority to appropriate organisations; staff that have recreational fisheries-specific expertise or training; capacity – funding, manpower, technology, infrastructure; an effective Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) strategy, adoption of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and a funding mechanism that promotes management and research.