The South African abalone industry, representing some 300 small-scale commercial abalone divers, has unanimously rejected the department's proposed 43 ton annual catch limit for the upcoming 2014/2015 fishing season.
In a brief note addressed to the Deputy Director-General of Fisheries, Mr Mortimer Mannya, and copied to his boss, the Director-General of DAFF, Prof Edith Vries, the industry records their opposition to the proposed 43 ton TAC on the following bases:
1. Right holders had previously provided a comprehensive submission explaining why a 43 ton TAC would not make rational management sense. It appears as if this submission has not been read or understood according to the email.
2. The proposed reduction to the TAC "fails to comprehend" that the single greatest threat to the viability of abalone stocks is the illegal fishery and not the legal fishery.
3. The Department continues to not implement an anti-paoching initiative and accordingly the department's statements about reducing poaching are "nonsensical".
The industry has instead proposed a 127 ton TAC. In addition, it is proposed that the department allow for abalone fishing at Dyer Island and that the present experimental fishery in the False Bay be opened to commercial fishing. The illegal abalone fishery accounts for the loss of at least 2000 tons of abalone annually, while department confiscates approximately 120 tons of this (6%), which is then sold by DAFF for profit in competition with the legal industry.