Sharks on the line

  • Sharks
Years funded
  • 2012, 2013
  • Archived
Project type
  • Research

Tamzyn works with recreational catch-and-release shark fishermen to collect fishery data, learn about post-release survival rates of different species and educate anglers about how to give these animals the best chance of survival.

Sharks on the line

Tamzyn Zweig

Project leader
About the project leader

Having grown up in the ‘deep south’ of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa’s Western Cape, I think I was always destined to become an advocate for the conservation of the creatures I share my surroundings with. My playgrounds were unspoiled beaches, dunes and coastal fynbos forests. I learned to swim before I could walk and quickly developed a fascination for the otherworlds below the waves. I recall winter days when I snorkelled in the cold water of False Bay for an hour at a time and came out of the water shivering and blue. Then I’d spend hours in...

Related Blogs
By Tamzyn Zweig, 3rd April 2014
The RecFishSA 2013/14 Field Season
Once again the South African organised angling season has drawn to a close, so here is a little update about what the South African Shark Conservancy RecFishSA project has been up to in the past few months (and we have been busy busy busy so…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 5th April 2013
RecFishSA 2012 Highlights
Sadly along with the South African summer the RecFishSA 2012 tagging season has come to an end. By way of a little background for any new RecFishSA blog readers: In 2010 the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) formed an affiliation with the South African Shore…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 21st January 2013
RecFishSA Scientists and Sport anglers: working together at the Two Oceans Big Catch Bronzie Festival
In December 2012 SASC’s RecFishSA team attended the Two Oceans Angling Club Big Catch Bronzie Festival. Organized by the Two Oceans Angling Club and sponsored by Big Catch Tackle Suppliers, the Bronzie Festival is open to any angler who has a valid recreational angling license…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 13th December 2012
RecFishSA angling data collection to better understand catch and release shark angling
The SASC RecFishSA team have been pretty busy over the past few months. This is prime angling time in the Western Province, and we have had a great time tagging and gathering angling data to contribute to the post-release mortality component of the project. In…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 31st October 2012
RecFishSA’s West Coast field trip
In October the South African Shark Conservancy’s (SASC) RecFishSA team attended a Western Province Angling competition on the West Coast, South Africa. Approximately 200 rock and surf club anglers fished to accumulate points for their personal and club scorecards. SASC attended the competition to tag…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 25th September 2012
A survey conducted in 2007 estimated that recreational shore fishing in South Africa (SA) contributes approximately R2.5 billion annually to the economy (SADSAA 2007). This figure is an ballpark figure of ALL shore angling activity but the contribution of the elasmobranch targeted recreational angling is…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 7th August 2012
RecFishSA: Tagging to better understand sharks – the whens, whys and hows of tagging!
In June and July SASC’s RecFishSA tagging team attended three recreational angling competitions. In the Western Cape winter months angling competitions are few and far between because bony fish and elasmobranch catches are generally lower. But, as we love to attend these competitions and stay…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 6th July 2012
Catch and release shark angling: Best practises to save our sharks
Are you a sport angler? Do you love the thrill of catching a shark and releasing it safely back into its natural habitat? If you want to ensure that the shark, skate or ray you release has the best chance of survival, please consider the…
By Tamzyn Zweig, 7th June 2012
RecFishSA – working with anglers to help save our sharks
As this is my first blog since receiving funding from the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF), I thought it would be wise to let everyone know what has motivated our project: Recreational angling for elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) in South Africa is growing in…
Project details

South Africa's recreational shark fishery: understanding impacts and importance (RecFishSA)

Key objective

To provide an up-to-date quantification of organised recreational elasmobranch fishing in South Africa. Through scientific quantification the effects of stressors species-specific post-release survival rates there is the potential of altering rules and regulations in the club angling fishery. The results of the project will be submitted to the Department of Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) towards better co-management of recreational and commercial fisheries in South Africa.

Why is this important

As recreational angler permit holders far exceed commercial fishing rights holders, the quantification of species overlaps and species-specific post-release survival rate of caught and released elasmobranchs is invaluable toward co-management strategies.


In 2010 the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) was invited by SASAA to attend the World Angling Championship in Langebaan. SASAA president, Pierre du Plessis expressed SASAA’s desire to become involved with SASC in order to minimise impacts and gather valuable data towards better understanding and better management of elasmobranch populations in South Africa. To date SASC has attended six competitions and tagged 226 elasmobranchs.

Aims & objectives
The aims of this project are to quantify:
  • The socio-economic value of the fishery.
  • The knowledge, behaviour and attitude of recreational elasmobranch fishers in SA through targeted surveys.
  • Species overlap between recreational and commercial fisheries for improving co-management strategies.
  • Catch per unit effort fluctuations and changes in species composition over time.
  • Species-specific metabolic and physiological responses to angling stressors.
The outcomes will include:
  • A training programme to amend angler behaviour and mitigate impacts on elasmobranchs.
  • An online database to promote angler involvement in science, conservation and management.
  • Improved scientific understanding of fishery-specific impacts.