A characterization of the paddle-ski fishery in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Mann, B.Q., Pradervand, P., Maggs, J.Q. & Winter, S. 2012. A characterization of the paddle-ski fishery in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science, 34(1): 119-130.


The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) paddle-ski fishery in South Africa consists mainly of light-weight fishing kayaks operated by a single fisher in the marine nearshore environment. The social, economic, management and fisheries parameters of this sector were investigated during the period December 2006–February 2008. Socio-economic data were obtained by means of online and telephone surveys. Effort data were collected from three sources: launch site registers, daily counts conducted during shark-meshing operations of the KZN Shark Board, and from a bimonthly aerial survey. Catch data were collected primarily during compliance inspections undertaken by the provincial fisheries management authority. Because there are no formal data on the paddle-ski fishery, this study serves as a baseline assessment. It was estimated that there was a minimum of 650 participants in the fishery who annually undertook 6 685 outings, accounting for a total retained catch of 17 462 fish from 57 different species. This total estimated catch accounted for approximately 2% of the total cumulative catch of the two main provincial recreational fisheries (i.e. the shore-fishery and skiboat fishery). The catch comprised primarily of gamefish species (65%). On average, paddle-ski fishers had investments of around R12 000 in craft and fishing equipment, and an annual expenditure on tackle of R6 000 that equates to a total fishery investment of R7.8 million, with a total annual operating expenditure of at least R3.9 million. Respondents were satisfied with current fisheries regulations, but many were confused by the safety requirements for paddle-skis. The future management of this fishery is discussed in light of its comparatively low impact on coastal resources.

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