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Spearfishing in South Africa
(8-Oct-2013) STOP DAFF Killing Recreational Crayfishing
Here is a letter we received from Sauff with a link to a current petition
Link to the petition: Follow this link to Petition
Why is this Important?
There are recent figures that show that in the last year, there was in the region of 97% overfishing on the overall TAC (Total Allowable Catch) for Westcoast Rock Lobster.
Desmond Stevens Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has proposed a minimum reduction of 16% in order to secure some degree of sustainability. Fingers are being pointed at commercial harvesters as well as the Subsistence "interim Relief" fishermen as the culprits. Exports far exceeded the commercial harvest so one has to ask where is the balance coming from?
DAFF has put forward the following proposals: Total TAC reduced by 251 tons for the 2013/2014 season .
• Recreational TAC has be reduced from 183 tons to 83 tons a reduction of 100 tons (a few years back TAC was 400 tons) • Daily bag limit remain 4. • Resulting in 26 days of fishing weekends and public holidays only starting 15 Nov 2013 .( 2012/2013 Season had 60 fishing days)
The final proposal will be signed off by the DDG on Friday 25th of October
I would like to call all recreational fishermen, and other interested parties to appose the DDG's recommendations on the following grounds:
Laws targeting law-abiding citizen are an ineffective and illogical solution to the problem of poaching
The massive overfishing of last years TAC was not caused by recreationals, as recreationals are not responsible for exporting crayfish or supplying the market where these figures where derived from. Also we cannot bury our heads in the sand and say that poaching has not had an enormous impact on the crayfish stocks.
Reducing the limits for recreational fishermen absolutely illogical, as not only is it punishing the wrong sector, but it will in any event have nominal effect on the crayfish stocks. If anything, it will only encourage previously law abiding permit holders, in frustration to turn to poaching and thereby aggravate the situation. The only way to deal with over fishing is to be able to match the regulations with a suitable level of policing. Stricter regulations in and of themselves achieve nothing if they are not policeable. The fact that the stocks have suffered so much over the past year, is proof that the policing is completely inadequate.
The true impact of recreational crayfishing is almost certainly over-exaggerated.
The true impact of recreational crayfishing is not being accurately measured and is quite possibly overstated. This is because there are no systems to accurately determine what recreationals have actually caught. We may be given a season of 40 days, but there are many factors that substantially limit us to much less fishing time. The cape town weather usually makes at least 50% of those days, unfishable. Then there is availability, most recreationals have jobs, and can only fish over weekends or a few days in during their leave. At the end of the day the vast majority of recreational fishermen will get 3 or 4 trips in a season, and that's if they are very lucky. In my circles that is considered a fairly good season. Then there are hundreds and possibly thousands of licenses that are taken out, but are never used.
Since the DAFF has no accurate means of knowing this, it could be quite unfair to assume that we catch more than we do in reality. The DAFF monitors the condition of the stocks, that but does not tell them who caught what. It's clear that recreationals are being punished for the sins of the interim relief fishers as well as the commercials, are we too being punished for the sins of the poachers?
The reduction in the TAC is grossly disproportionate and inequitable.
We all understand the need to preserve our natural resources. We would be more than happy to accept a reduction in the TAC, so long as it was even spread across all sectors. But the suggestion is that the recreational TAC (total allowable catch) be slashed from 183 tons to 83 tons (54% reduction) whereas the only other sector that was reduced was offshore (traps) which was reduced to 1355 tons (12.5% reduction). The interim relief fishers TAC was increased by 25 tons to 276 tons. This is a grossly unfair and unjust.
The reduction of the recreational crayfishing season, will make recreational crayfishing unsustainable, thereby negatively effecting the economy.
Each recreational fisherman spend thousands of Rands each season, on gear, petrol, accommodation, tackle in order to collect a 4 crayfish a day. As explained above, the majority of recreationals will only catch 4, 8 or 12 crayfish in a whole season. Therefore the recreational fishing sector, in proportion to it's share of the TAC, puts far more money into the economy of the country than commercial fishing.
For this reason we cannot understand the disproportionate punishing of the recreational sector as it makes no economic sense! The new regulations will make recreational fishing unsustainable. Does the DAFF realize the costs involved in buying, maintaining a boat, towing it, fueling it, buying bait, buying numerous licenses, driving long distances, buying park entry permits, and paying launch fees, just so that one can catch a handful crayfish, if you are so lucky to find a good day within the season. The regulations will without a doubt kill off a massive chunk of this industry!
The economic effects will be far reaching. For starters, few people will consider it worthwhile buying licenses (which I believe is a key source of income for policing the resource). Fishing tackle shops, bait companies, fuel for boats, boat manufacturers, Boat shops, boat mechanics, diving shops, trailer companies, safety gear manufacturers, not to mention the tourism industries of small coastal towns like Parternoster, Yzterfontein and Lambertsbay, where the recreational fishing season makes a significant economic contribution, will all suffer. What about the tour operating companies, that charter very expensive boats to catch catch crayfish, thereby pumping large amounts of foreign currency into the local tourism industry.
What are we calling for?
We want the DDG to reconsider his proposal, and come up with something more fair, equitable and sustainable for all parties involved. My suggestion is that the 251 ton reduction, gets evenly distributed in proportion with each sectors slice of the pie.
If you support this call, please sign our petition, like our Facebook page, and share this with as many people as possible!
(8-Oct-2013) Midlands Bluewater Gamefish Classic Cancelled
We have had to cancel or perhaps postpone to next year this comp due to lack of entries. At the time of writing this we had only a few entries and with the costs of meal deposits and t-shirts it was not an option to go ahead. Guys need to realize that comps take a lot of organization and money is needed up front to get the comp off the ground.
(9-Sept-2013) My Friend Edward Hayman
I first met Edward at the 1990 spearfishing nationals in Port Elizabeth. We liked each other immediately and maintained a strong friendship over the years. Edward was a great guy to spearfish with and we had lots of exciting adventures together. Edward was a very generous person and was always prepared to help whether it was giving out info on dive spots or giving freely of his vast knowledge concerning spearfishing. Edward was one of the countries top spearfishermen and represented his country a number of times. Edward was never one to give up and was the type of person that you knew you could always rely on. Edward was a great snorer and could out snore anyone. I remember one particular trip to Sodwana Bay where it seemed he was practising for the snorers world championships. It got so bad that he moved his tent onto the adjacent campsite and we all breathed a sigh of relief. This was all taken in good fun of course. Edward was an extremely positive person and in all the years that I knew Edward I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Even when he was battling cancer he still managed to maintain a positive outlook on life and never let it get him down. I had a long telephone conversation with Edward the night before the accident and things were going so well for him. I am going to miss Edward a lot but knowing how strong he was in life I am sure he would want us to be positive going forward from this tragic and sudden end to his life. R.I.P my friend.
(3-Sept-2013) New Images in Gallery
Some new images have been added to the Gallery - Go to Gallery
(15-Aug-2013) Midlands Bluewater Gamefish Classic
Hey Guys put this in you diaries!!!
(8-Aug-2013) Freedivers Moves to New Location
Our proudly South African spearfishing equipment manufacturer has moved to a new location, they are now at:
FREEDIVER NEW ADDRESS
80 Rinaldo Road
Tel : 031 5693153
Map : Link to Google Map
(31-July-2013) Clansthal Conservancy aiming to totally ban fishing/sprearing in prime fishing Area
We received this email from Basie Ackerman highlighting an issue that will be of interest to those that dive Aliwal Shoal:
You may have heard about this, or not, but bottom line is they are basically going forward unopposed with their proposal, which is to totally ban all types of harvesting from approx. High Rocks (Widenham Point) south to Greenpoint, from high water mark and 7 kms out to sea. That includes the Aliwal Shoal, Nebo – total no take zone – no shore angling, no shorediving, crayfishing, spearing, fishing whatsoever.
It was started a couple of years ago by - believe it or not –by some local Clansthal property owners who have grown tired of the fisherman making a mess on Greenpoint, so in their boredom and tree hugging narrow mind set decided to start the ball rolling. It has been rolling unopposed and gaining momentum as everyone scoffed at the ridiculous idea. Well it is at the proposal stage and KZN Wildlife is very keen for it to happen. There has been meetings with scientist and “invited” people, but conveniently the user groups which will oppose this was inexplicably left off the list for most of these meetings.
What we need to investigate is how to officially oppose this, so if you know of anyone that can get this going on an official level, please inform them. The KZN Wildlife’s contact person’s details are listed below, you can get the official story from her.
If you enjoy diving this piece of coast, and the Aliwal Shoal, get off your butt and do some research/investigating/word spreading/opposing. Before it is too late and another one of our constitutional rights has been swept under the “green” carpet…
Contact person for more info on this
Project Administrator Aliwal Shoal
Tel/fax: 039 9732965
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(23-May-2013) Spearfishing Nationals 2013 Results
Well done to everyone that competed in the 2013 Nationals, I think everyone that took part really enjoyed themselves. Also a big thank you to SAUFF and the organising body for a job well done. Please follow the links to view the results.
Nationals 2013 Individual Results
Nationals 2013 Team Results
(23-May-2013) Effect of E;ectric Field on White Shark
Everyone considering using an electronic shark deterrent should read through this research article - Effects of an Electric Field on White Sharks - They have come up with some interesting findings
(23-May-2013) New Images in Gallery
Some new images have been added to the Gallery - Go to Gallery
(26-March-2013) Cape Vidal Marlin Fishing Gaff Accident
On a recent Cape Vidal fishing trip to target Marlin one of the anglers kicked a gaff lying on the deck. This small incident nearly killed the angler! If you are an angler/spearo that frequents Mozambique or any other isolated places please Read the Story.
(18-March-2013) KZN Teams For Nationals
From the SpearfishingSA team we would like congratulate the following Spearos for being selected to represent the KZN Team in Nationals 2013. Message from Gary Uys: "Afternoon All,after much deliberation we have put together the final KZN teams for Nationals 2013, thanks to Craig Heslop and Jeremy Williams for their assistance as selectors. I think in all we have an A team that looks close to unbeatable and very even B,C & D teams that could bring a little excitement to the mix. So far the overseas interest in the Open division has been brilliant with some of the old and new guards joining up to come and give the residents a good go! Well done to all selected! Gary"
(12-Dec-2012) Red Steenbras now a Protected Species
If you have never been fortunate enough to encounter this magnificent species, the odds may become a whole lot better. The Red Steenbras has now become a closed species that cannot be targeted by recreational or commercial fisherman See the new Regulations
(12-Dec-2012) New Images in Gallery
Owen Tessendorf has provided us with some pictures of a recent Costa Rica charter - Go to Gallery
(26-Oct-2012) Diving and Spearfishing in South Africa - Review By Gavin Taylor
Diving and Spearfishing in South Africa - Author Piet van Rooyen
When I was asked to review a book written by a spearo from Windhoek ,Namibia I must admit that I was skeptical. However from the very first skim that I made through the pages I knew that I was going to be pleasantly surprised... and I was.
Piet van Rooyen has undoubtedly written the most comprehensive “Guide to Spearfishing in South Africa” that is available. The book is nothing short of a reference book that deals with everything spearfishing related. The chapters in the book are as follow: Read the rest of the review here
(06-Sept-2012) Mozambique Trip Diary - John Little
John Little has compiled a diary of their recent spearfishing trip to Mozambique go take a look
(06-Sept-2012) New Images in Gallery
Go take a look at some of the recent fish shot in and around KZN - Go to Gallery
(05-Sept-2012) Transkei Trip Report - July 2012 - Bryan Wegener
We left on the 4th of July 2012 and after a 10hr journey we eventually arrived at Xora River Mouth. The following morning we got up early to go and see what the launch was like and to check the viz. there was about a 1m swell and about 5-6m viz.
We started diving at Bulungula in about 12-18m. At first there were very few fish around but after scouting around a bit we found some nice reef holding nice Catface and Yellowbelly rockcod as well as Cape Knifejaw, small Black Mussel Cracker and the odd Bankie.
We ended up landing a few nice Rockcod ranging from 3-6kg and after not seeing decent fish we decided to take some outsize Cape knifejaw the biggest being 6.5kg.
The next spot was in front of the houses at Xora River Mouth in about 18-20m. On the first down it was like swimming onto an aquarium with shoals of Black Mussel Cracker, slinger, bankies, Rockcod and the ever present Knifejaws.
The next spot was a clump of bricks out at sea where it breaks on low tide a little bit South from the mouth. With high expectations we were a little disappointed when the biggest fish seen was a shad… On the way back to the previous spot we found a shoal of sardines swam around with them for about 30min and saw a big Sailfish but with the water cleaner the further south we went the fish saw us and we couldn’t get a shot off in time.
The following day the west started blowing early we wanted to go diving but by 10am it was really howling and we just fished instead.
The rest of the trip was pretty messed up by this westerly as it blew strong for two days picking up the swell to between 4-5m and dropping the viz to zero.
We waited for three days before we went back out to sea to fish only as the water didn’t get clean as there was still a 2-3m swell with no current.
(08-Aug-12) Permit Holders Required to Please Help with Research
The help of East Coast rock lobster, mussel, oyster, mud crab and mollusc / general bait permit-holders are urgently required. The Oceanographic Research Institute conducts quarterly surveys of lobster, mussel, oyster and general bait collection in KZN to improve management of these fisheries. If you hold any of these permits, please complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/InvertSurveyJul2012 . The current survey investigates harvesting during April and June 2012. All survey participants will be entered into a lucky draw taking place in January 2013. The following prizes can be won: First prize: Two uShaka Platinum Passes and free entry into Sea World and Wet and Wild for a whole year Second prize: Sea World Meet a Dolphin experience for two people Third prize: A choice of one Island adventure experience (Xpanda Shark dive, Ocean Walker and Avis Snorkel Lagoon (subject to availability) for two people at Sea World Four consolation prizes: Two Sea World / Wet and Wild combo tickets The prize draw will be on 14 January 2013 at the Oceanographic Research Institute and winners will be contacted by phone before 31 January 2013. To qualify for the prizes you must have an East Coast rock lobster, mud crab, mussel, oyster or mollusc / general bait permit and complete in full the survey about your harvesting activities from April to June 2012. Complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/InvertSurveyJul2012. The questionnaire should take no longer than five minutes. Please complete the survey even if you caught nothing as this information is important. You may only complete the questionnaire once per survey, but are allowed to participate in all of the 2012 surveys (in January, April, July and October 2012) and improve your chance of winning a prize. Please fill in your personal details in full and provide a phone number where you can be contacted between 14-31 January 2013 during office hours.
Thank you very much for your help.
(17-Jul-12) SA Spearfishing Team Not Allowed to Compete in 2012 World Champs
Read Ian Ewing's report on the shocking way the South African spearfishing team was treated at the recent 2012 world champs Go To Report
(12-Jul-12) Boat Capsizes at Umkomaas - 9 July 2012
Follow the link to see a report on the incident Go To Article
(11-Jul-12) Sodwana Bay Catch Returns
Here is some interesting stats provided by the Parks Board. Go To Stats
(11-Jul-12) The Sardine Run - What to Expect
The much anticipated sardine run is in full swing along the KZN South Coast. There have been good sightings reported from the Wild Coast all the way up to Umdloti. Unfortunately the weather has been less than ideal, but some good spearing has taken place with a number of garrick and snoek being taken. John Little has compiled a reponrt on what to expect during this time of the year. Follow this link to read the article The Sardine Run - What To Expect
(02-Jul-12) Hibiscus Gamefish Open - Saturday 7th July
The Annual Hibiscus Gamefish challenge is coming up on the 7th July 2012. R5000+ cash for the biggest gamefish, lots of other prizes including for biggest crayfish and biggest bag of crayfish. The guys have timed this one perfectly as the sardines have just started to make an appearance on the KZN South Coast Follow this link to get the entry form entry form
For those of you that are less fimiliar with the KZN South Coast go take a look at our updated Natal Dive Spots section. We have Uploaded some google maps to help new divers to the area.
(21-June-12) Tinley Manor Sat 16 June 2012 - Good Days Diving - Buck Neves
Myself and three mates decided to launch from Tinley Manor early Saturday 16 June 2012. We got off to a bit of a slow start but given that they launch you with a tractor at Tinley, we were soon on our way. We deciding not to waste any time and jumped in at the nearest spot which was Tinley point.
I chose to be top man first and was soon regretting it, it was no longer than five minutes before the first snoek came in and before I knew it the guys had put four decent size fish in the boat in under ten minutes. My mate Van could see i was itching to get in on the action so he took over and I jumped in and before I could load my gun the snoek were shoaling past in schools of 30+ all ranging from 6-12kg decent sizes and before I knew it I was on to my first snoek.
We stayed in the same spot for an excess of two hours and in this time there was none stop action, every five minutes a shoal would come past and we would try pick one off many times being unsuccessful with fish tearing off and barbs not opening.
After a few hours of serious snoek action, they started moving off to deeper water. We tried to find them again but had no luck and decided to call it a day.
We still managed to land 24 fish for our efforts, a good days diving by anyone’s standards.
Click here to take a look at more images in our Gallery.
(19-June-12) Some new images have been added to the gallery, follow this link to take a look. click here
(14-June-12) Zavora Mozambique - Report by Andrew Henwood
Zavora is one of those spots where it can go either way… News And Stories.
(12-Aug-11) Some new pics up in the gallery from the Umhlanga Spearfishing Club
Pictures in the gallery, click here.
(22-July-11) Report back on Freedivers Blue Water Gamefish Challenge 2011
Was a fantastic competition with some great fish and prizes click here for the full story.
(22-July-11) Some great new pics up in the gallery click here
(15-July-11)The Official press release for the recent shark attack on the KZN south coast
The KZN South Coast diving community was devastated this morning (28 June) with the bite by a large Dusky shark on an Advanced SCUBA diver who was on a dive within the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA). Although the injuries sustained by the diver were not fatal, the incident was nevertheless quite serious with the diver being evacuated by air. The diver is now in a stable condition following surgery at Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban.
Netcare911 Spokesperson Chris Botha commended the Blue Wilderness team for their exemplary handling of the situation, commenting that "this young man owes his life to the well trained Blue Wilderness staff who managed to stop the blood flow so quickly." Ryan and Clare Daly (Blue Wilderness), Peter Bauer (rescue diver) and Alistair Louw (local skipper) were all on hand to assist with the medical care that saved the diver's life, and all kept a cool head in a very stressful situation.
Speaking about the incident, Mark Addison of Blue Wilderness said that "after over 23 years in the diving industry, and 15 years in the shark diving industry, this has been the first time we have had an encounter such as this at Aliwal Shoal. Taking all that we have observed and learnt over the last two decades, there is no way that one could have known that that this individual animal would break all of the rules. However, the young diver is our main concern right now and our thoughts go out to him and his family during this difficult time. Anyone who comes into our environment is considered to be a member of our family and we are very close to the diver and deeply saddened by today's events."
The bite occurred when a large Dusky shark bit at the diver's fins in what is most likely a case of mistaken identity. The SCUBA diver was wearing split fins with black and grey stripes, and to the shark this may have looked like a small shoal of fish.
According to Addison, "having swum with sharks on thousands of occasions, I can testify that isolated freak accidents such as this rarely occur. Although there are more large Dusky sharks around than usual at the moment due to the presence of sardines, there is no reason for them to have any more interest in us than they normally do, and this was really unfortunate".
These large Dusky sharks generally live offshore, but come closer to shore during this time of the year as they follow the massive shoals of sardines that are making their way up the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal coastlines. Dusky sharks are listed on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List as "near threatened" and are one of the most vulnerable of the shark species to exploitation because it reproduces so slowly and at such a late age.
The diver was part of a team of interns who have been diving with Blue Wilderness for almost a month. "The interns are well-versed with the nature of these animals, these guys are competent divers and are passionate about sharks - that's why they travelled around the globe to join us during the sardine run. They have been making a valuable contribution to furthering our understanding of these sharks at the Aliwal Shoal MPA" said Mark Addison.