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Landings of West Coast Rock lobster

Annual commercial landings of rock lobster

Environmental Goal

To monitor the annual commercial landings of rock lobster


Rock lobster
Annual commercial landings of west coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii) in South Africa, 1890–2001
Source:  Griffiths, C.L., van Sittert, L., Best, P.B., Brown, A.C., Clark, B.M., Cook, P.A., Crawford, R.J.M., David, J.H.M, Davies, B.R., Griffiths, M.H., Hutchings, K., Jerardino, A., Kruger, N., Lamberth, S., Leslie, R., Melville-Smith, R., Tarr, R., and van der Lingen, C.D. (2004).  Impacts of Human Activities on Marine Animal Life in the Benguela: a historical overview.  Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 42, 303–392.

west coast rock 2013
Annual commercial landings of west coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii) in South Africa, 2004-2011

Fishing Industry Handbook 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Fishing Industry Handbook, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique, 33rd, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th edition

Are we making progress?

The west coast rock lobster fishery is one of the oldest fisheries in South Africa. Commercial, subsistence and recreational fisheries all target the rock

The annual commercial landings of rock lobster have decreased since the 1960s, indicating that the high landings of earlier years were unsustainable. During the 1990s, a decrease in growth rate, and insufficient numbers of juvenile lobsters in the population to sustain a healthy fishery in the immediate future, further reduced total rock-lobster landings, with the total allowable catches down to about half that of the 1980s.

The fishery on the West Coast, which historically landed the bulk (60%) of the lobster catch, now lands only 40% of the total catch annually. The graph shows a decrease of catches from 2 937 to 1 879 (36%) tons in 2005 and 2012 respectively. This decline in catch has had a devastating effect on coastal communities with economic hardship experienced by most fishers on the West Coast. In the face of resource decline an Operational Management Procedure was developed that aims to rebuild the stock to sustainable levels.

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