Profile of the Illegal Abalone Fishery in South Africa: Is a Sustainable, Legal Fishery Achievable? Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/9z903079v

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  • Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) abalone fishing in South Africa has grown to such an extent that the legal total allowable catch has been progressively reduced from 640 tons in 1995, to a proposed zero for 2008. We present research on the socio-economics of the IUU abalone fishery and the quantification of illegal fishing effort. Our data show that the IUU activities are much more widespread and sophisticated than previously acknowledged, and that the total IUU catch is estimated to be well over 2000 tons per annum worth ca. $60 million. 100% of the product is exported, mainly to Hong Kong. Factors responsible for the complete shift to illegal fishing include the high price of abalone, a flawed fishing rights model and allocation process, an ineffective compliance authority, and a failure to design institutional responses appropriate to the scale of the problem. The proposed closure of the legal fishery raises questions of fishery governance and equity. Abalone fishing rights holders have challenged the decision to close the fishery in court, arguing that they are being unfairly discriminated against because of government's failure to control illegal fishing. Biological evidence suggests that while the current levels of fishing are unsustainable, the fishery has not yet collapsed, and that the yield could be stabilised if fishing effort was regulated. We argue that institution of a territorial user right fishery (TURF) based on the rehabilitation of local abalone populations, either by means of effort control or reseeding, could shift the fishery back to a legal footing.
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  • Britz, Peter and Serge Raemaekers. 2008. Profile of the Illegal Abalone Fishery in South Africa: Is a Sustainable, Legal Fishery Achievable? 21 pages. In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 22-25, 2008, Nha Trang, Vietnam: Achieving a Sustainable Future: Managing Aquaculture, Fishing, Trade and Development. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2008.
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