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Suspension of Exploratory Octopus Fishery Lifted

November 12, 2019

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

12 November 2019

The temporary suspension of the exploratory octopus fishery in False Bay has been lifted with effect from 15 November 2019.

The suspension was imposed in June 2019 following widespread public concern regarding whale entanglements in octopus fishing gear in the False Bay area which had resulted in the death of whales.

In a statement, the environment, forestry and fisheries department indicated that the decision to lift the suspension came after consultations with the scientific community and stakeholders in the fishery via the New Fisheries Scientific Working Group.

Mitigation measures explored included special sinking lines with extra weights, acoustic release buoys and time release buoys to minimise the need for vertical lines.

Mitigation measures to be implemented immediately include:

• The bottom line should consist entirely of sinking ropes.
• The chain on the buoy line must be moved from the top of the line to the bottom.
• There must be sheathing of the top 2 metres of the buoy line with PVC piping/tubing.
• The buoy must be mounted on the bottom with a timed released mechanism.

Should further entanglements of whales occur within three months, the fishery will be halted or terminated.