Title: Review and analysis of the status of Abolone (Haliotis midae) fishery in South Africa

Author(s): Liwalam O.M.
Final project
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Supervisors: Sveinn Agnarsson
abalone; South Africa;


The abalone (Haliotis midae) fishery is one of the important single species fisheries and is one of South Africa’s most valuable fisheries per unit of harvest. Abalone commercial fishing sector in South Africa was formally recognized as one of the official fisheries sectors in 1998 through the Marine Living Resource Act (MLRA) Act 18 of 1998. It is based on the South and West coasts and a TAC of 150 tons is currently allowed since the re-opening of the fishery after it was closed for 2 years from 2008 to 2010. The industry is worth around R70 million per annum with approximately 100 vessels involved. This industry supports about 950 employees. In this paper, a review and assessment of the status of the fishery was done by looking at the abalone policy objectives for the Long Term Fishing Rights Allocation Process and examine the status of those specific policy objectives. In addition, a general assessment of the fishery focusing on important topical issues was conducted. Since the implementation of MLRA, a reasonable progress has been made towards legalizing and management of abalone fishing industry, but the major threat of escalating reports of illegal fishing or poaching has a detrimental effect to the resource. Most of the abalone (legal and illegal) is exported to the Far East. Political changes in South Africa i.e. the end of apartheid regime added both urgency and expectations of broadened access and might have prompted those that were disappointed by the outcome of the process of rights allocation to join illegal fishing. There are currently 303 authorized commercial abalone right holders as opposed to 5 right holders prior to the transformation process, with a further number of people directly depending on this fishery to meet the basic requirements for living.

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