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 popularity, although the number of participants in this fishery remains unquantified. Comprised of organized and informal anglers, the fishery targets a species complex similar to South Africa’s inshore commercial and subsistence fisheries. Within the organized angling sector more than 30 catch-and-release competitions target elasmobranchs each year.
Since December 2010, the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) has opportunistically attended eight South African Shore Angling Competitions (SASAA) competitions and tagged 384 sharks comprised of 12 species of elasmobranchs (see table 1 and 2).
Thanks to the generosity of SOSF SASC will be able to attend many more competitions in the upcoming season!
Our primary objective for the next few months is to roll-out our RecFishSA Responsible Angling Clinic with the Western Cape Shore Angling Association (WCSAA) clubs. These clinics will mitigate impacts of catch and release fishing for elasmobranchs and promote improved ethics and standards in the club fishing environment. Trained anglers will receive tagging kits enabling them to contribute to the RecFishSA programme by contributing data to fishery- and species-specific conservation and management objectives.
Table 1. Date, location and number of elasmobranchs tagged at SASAA competitions since 2010
Table 2. Species list and number of elasmobranchs tagged at SASAA competitions since 2010.