View single post by Dr halibut hoffman
 Posted: Sat Sep 29th, 2018 10:44 pm
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Dr halibut hoffman

Joined: Wed Sep 16th, 2009
Location: Cape, South Africa
Posts: 2745
Ja no ous here called me a greenie..LOL no they were just ignorant..the fish stocks are waaaaay off from where they can and should be at..Decades of bad fisheries management, unsustainable commercial harvest. The trawling of false bay also stuffed it up proper. The nail in the coffin for the yellowtail and reef fish was the 80's collapse due to purse seine and trawling on the southern cape banks..things slowly crawling their way back to only a fraction of what it stocks are not more than 10-20% of what they should be..Worst are a percent or less. Breeding populations of large females are all but gone in most species. Most anglers carry on none the wiser..Government mainly does niks.

Here is an excerpt from a good book with epic accounts of the old days. The accounts of the early and later whaling industry are also eye opening. There were only 30 or so female southern rights left visiting SA left at one stage?! Anyway on with the show..Link to the books PDF after..

"Before the harbour had been completed a railways official had seen three men putting a net outside the entrance to the harbour. At that time there were no laws prohibiting such activities but it waspointed out that “this was detrimental to the fish feeding off the pier wall.” On 3 September 1917 proclamation no. 196 was introduced which forbade the use of nets within a radius of half a nautical mile of the outer extremity of the pier.

Even before the breakwater was completed, the pier became a popular place for fishing. A small charge was introduced for the privilege. Between 1917 and 1919 takings amounted to £3 000.

From the time that work on the harbour started, records were kept each day of the weather conditions and this information including the barometric reading, was posted up for the fishermen. The Kalk Bay pier was soon attracting large crowds. Leervis averaging between 9kg and 20kg were landed.

One angler, Mr Terence C. Ferguson, established a record when he managed to land a 25kg leervis. It took 45 minutes of struggling up and down the pier to land the fish.

Ferguson also held the rod record for the pier, of a 60kg kob, which took one hour to land.

Bumpercatches from the harbour.

During those early years of construction, excellent catches of white stumpnose were made in the harbour area every year. Without even going to sea, the boats in some seasons caught sufficient fish at their moorings to sell to the hawkers in the morning. Some of the catches made by the line fishermen off the pier can only be described as phenomenal.

On 11 January 1920 when the boats had returned from sea and most of the crew had made their way home a large shoal of yellowtail was sighted just off the pier. The men went back to the wall, caught mackerel for bait and then proceeded to catch yellowtail by the score. When the shoal moved away after a couple of hours, the harbour was covered in a carpet of fish. The yellowtail averaged between 2,2kg and 4,5kg each. The total catch was estimated to be over 6000 and sold for twopence each.

At daybreak on another day the fishermen had a good catch of geelbek off the pier. The geelbek was then followed by a shoal of mackerel so large and so dense that the top fish were forced out of the water. These mackerel were then followed by a shoal of yellowtail.At one stage there were 30 rod anglers playing the fish up and down the wall but soon all their gaffs were broken. They had to give up because the line fishermen with their hand lines were too busy to offer up their gaffs.

On this occasion fish were being caught with mere scraps of bait. When their lines broke, the line fishermen hurriedly knotted them together again.By midday the excitement was over. In this time more than 500 fish, averaging 11kg each, had been landed. Between February and April of that same year very large steenbras were also caught off the wall."

So when was the last time a 20kg leerie was caught off kalk bay? Or when was the last time 6000, or even 500, yellowtail were caught from the harbour wall? LOL One before I am too old I hope we can recover our stocks.

If one can find the old reports from hermanus, the "fishing eldorado"..That will blow your was not uncommon to catch tuna and yellowtail from the rocks there as well as hook huge red steenbras, the most common catches from the rocks being yellowfin tuna, sarda sarda, yellowtail, mackerel, large cob, geelbek and large elf.. It was not uncommon for a fisherman to catch a hundred large cob and geelbek and a hundred blou elf in ONE NIGHT when they were running. He would catch his own bait before hand by catching the plentiful mackerel that were always around. When the red steenbras would run for whatever reason, upwelling or breeding, the whole sea would go red for as far as you could see. My mates ballie still remembers the shoals of leervis that would stretch for more than 10km when returning from a breed and sardine chow up north in Natal..All those fish long gone..

We in SA in days past, literally had the most productive piece of coastline on the entire planet. Where it sits in relation to the poles and equator and the angle of the coast to the prevailing E-W current down the eastern seaboard of each continent in S hemisphere, generated from the surface ocean waters intertia and spin of the earth, and the huge (largest in the world) "goldilocks zone" of reef shallower than 120m at aghulas with its seasonal current and wind driven upwelling and resulting in a food explosion that is the largest in the is all very unique. That is the reason for us having more sparid (sea bream) species in our waters than the rest of the world has combined, the unique geography and immense and unparalleled amount of food it creates. It also is the reason also that the human species evolved into modern man on this coastline as well.

The largest indian ocean yellowfin come down and fatten up here, the worlds humpback whales come here to fatten up before breeding and so do the largest southern bluefin tuna come swim all the way here for the amount of food that gets generated by the localized conditions.

And our forefathers either fished it out or allowed it to be fished out..and today, even in the "untouched places" the stocks are a fraction of what they used to be and should be, we are none the wiser but fishing just the leftover scraps of days past..AND we are irresponsibly fishing the last breeding stocks that could give us the chance to allow the stocks to return..So it is up to us..That is why I have been on here like a stuck broken record for the last few years, slot limits, slot limits, breeding stock, breeding stock, slot all just makes sense and the science behind it is old news already. Other countries implemented policies 20 years ago based on the science when it was new, when they were in the same boat, and those policies have spawned stocks beyond their wildest dreams!

It is time for use to wake up and claim our historic fisheries back and look the bloody hell after them! And leave them intact for our children and grandchildren to never be hungry or bored or left wanting for a job again..the sea can provide if we let it.

Last edited on Sun Sep 30th, 2018 09:43 am by Dr halibut hoffman