Title: Introducing the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in the Traditional Linefish commercial fishing sector (TLFS), Republic of South Africa (RSA)

Author(s): Tembaletu Tanci
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Fisheries management is a necessity to ensure that the society realises the potential of its fisheries to create rents. Lack of management will result in irreversible damage of fish stocks as they may be severely depleted due to overexploitation. In 2007, overexploited global fish stocks were estimated at 28% with 50% fully exploited and 20% moderately exploited. To prevent the over exploitation of fish stocks, governments apply restrictive measures (regulations) and monitor compliance with such regulations. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is one important tool to allow governments to monitor fishing vessel activities in near real time and detect infringements with regulations. South Africa has elected to introduce VMS in the commercial Traditional Fish Sector (TLFS) following reports of stock decline. The introductory process failed due to lack of planning. Costs and technical attributes of the VMS were some limiting factors in the introductory process. Cost benefit analysis conducted in reviewing the process suggests that the introduction of VMS in the commercial TLFS has negative benefits and should be suspended. Focused monitoring directed to vessels responsible to vast amount of catches proves to be a solution to redress the situation. The range 16% to 24% of the fishing fleet accounts for 60% to 75% of reported catches respectively. Monitoring should, therefore, focus on these vessels.

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