We all know the levels of incompetent leadership at the Fisheries Department mean that it is unable to deploy fisheries patrol and research vessels, or allocate fishing quotas in time. But it is increasingly apparent that DAFF is now unable to even ensure that fishing seasons commence on time any more.
The West Coast Rock Lobster fishing season starts on 15 October each year. The TAC this year was announced on 6 November.
The abalone season commences on 1 November. By mid-December, the Department refused to inform the SA Abalone Industry Association of the catch limits for the final season of the current long term period! Then, with less than 24 hours' notice, abalone zonal representatives were summonsed to the Department's offices in Cape Town on 19 December where the TAC was announced. Without consultation, the Department summarily reduced the TAC by more than 30% from 150 tons to 96 tons.
The inability to ensure proper consultation with industry bodies throughout the season and the increasing inability to ensure that fishing seasons commence timeously, are only further indications of a department in complete meltdown.