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Exploratory Fishing for Octopus Under the Spotlight

July 2, 2019

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

2 July 2019

Exploratory fishing for octopus in Saldanha, False Bay and Mossel Bay will continue until 2021.

The environment, forestry and fisheries department confirmed this in a statement announcing the temporary suspension of exploratory fishing for octopus with immediate effect.

The octopus exploratory fishery was set up in 2014.

According to the department, the “programme aims to gain scientific knowledge regarding octopus harvesting, with a view to enhancing job creation and economic development in coastal areas”.

The collecting of data will continue until 2021 in order to ensure a solid statistical time series of catch and effort data.

“Once enough data has been collected, it will be analysed and subjected to proper scientific scrutiny and review, after which a recommendation will be made regarding the viability of establishing a new commercial fishery. Such a recommendation will also consider mitigating measures in the operations of octopus fishery.”

The environment, forestry and fisheries minister, Barbara Creecy, temporarily suspended the exploratory fishery “following widespread public concern regarding recent whale entanglements in the False Bay area which has resulted in the untimely and cruel death of these magnificent creatures”.

The department declared that the suspension will remain until such time as scientists can investigate the matter further and explore possible mitigation measures to reduce entanglements.