70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Fishy Fridays – Heritage Day – Galjoen

By: Judy Mann

Galjoen, also known as Damba, is South Africa’s national fish. This fish is endemic and found only along the coast of Namibia and South Africa. It prefers the cooler waters of the West and South coasts and is mainly found in the surf-zone in rocky areas with rough white water. They eat invertebrates such as molluscs and crustaceans and especially enjoy small mussels.

Many thousands of galjoen have been tagged in the De Hoop Marine Protected Area (MPA) and in other areas along the South African and Namibian coastline through the ORI Cooperative Fish Tagging Project. This research has shown that galjoen are generally very resident. Although most fish stay at home about 5% of the population are wanderers and some have travelled thousands of kilometres, some crossing the border between Nambia and South Africa and others rounding the Cape Peninsula from the West to the South coast and vice versa. Our no-take MPAs are very effective in protecting resident members of the population and research has shown how these populations can enhance adjacent fished areas through a process known as spill-over.