Sunday, September 14, 2014

Prof George Branch's View on an SA Limpet Fishery

In response to my suggestion that we should consider a small-scale commercial limpet fishery, Professor George Branch has provided a concise but convincing riposte. Professor Branch advises against such a fishery for the following ecological, economic and practical reasons.

First, limpets are keystone species that regulate community composition on rocky shores.

Second, if you remove them, their space is speedily occupied by alien mussels.

Third, even on the west coast where their abundance is greatest, sustainable yields can only be set at about 7-10 tons, which is hardly an economically viable amount.

Fourth, the quality of our limpets is not of the same quality as the South American limpets, which have a delicate, soft flesh. Accordingly, our limpets would command a considerably lower market price.

Finally, if we cannot control illegality in our abalone fishery, then the significantly more accessible limpets are doomed if a targeted fishery is opened.

Prof Branch does however support the remaining suggestions I make pertaining to the expansion of our fisheries economy.

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