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The status of integrated fisheries monitoring in South Africa

Robin Tilney and M.G. Purves

Marine and Coastal Management (formerly Sea Fisheries), Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay, 8012, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

Abstract: South Africa implemented a new Marine Living Resources Act in September 1998, which has brought about major changes to the fishing industry. The paper explores the impact these changes will have on the ability of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) to maintain control over fishing activities, and the measures introduced in order to address short- and long-term deficiencies in monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). The use of scientific observers and vessel monitoring systems (VMS) is discussed and South Africa's involvement in regional and international fisheries monitoring initiatives is raised. A case history of integrated monitoring in the Patagonian toothfish longline fishery is presented.


  1. History of participation;
  2. Previous exclusion on the basis of racial classification;
  3. Composition of company shareholders;
  4. Historical association with the ocean (coastal fishing communities);
  5. Vessel and infrastructure availability, and
  6. Other criteria aimed at promoting an equitable redistribution of fishing rights.


2.1 Monitoring requirements (research and stock assessment)

2.2. Surveillance requirements

  1. The improved on-board scientific observer scheme and vessel monitoring system (VMS), together with the services of a presently under-utilised oil pollution spotter plane. This fixed-wing aircraft will be contracted to conduct regular airborne patrols and will be in constant communication with the operations control room at MCM;
  2. A revitalised operational procedure for MCM's three patrol vessels. Priorities will be to eliminate entrenched, personnel-linked inertia and jurisdictional boundaries in order to render the vessels more mobile and flexible in operation. Patrol vessel activity will be integrated with the airborne surveillance programme and will act upon intelligence relayed via the operations control room. Fisheries law enforcement officers will be deployed aboard naval craft whenever possible so that routine naval patrols will also have fisheries MCS capability.


  1. RadarSat technology could prove useful for monitoring fishing vessel presence in the South African fishing zone off Prince Edward Island in the Southern Ocean and could eliminate the need for routine sea patrols.
  2. Airborne synthetic aperture radar would be a cost-effective method of surveillance that could cover extensive areas in short periods of time and which would provide coverage out to the edge of the South African EEZ.
  3. Coastrad, an integration of shore-based radar systems along the South African coast and linked to a central processing facility, could be used effectively for the monitoring of suspect vessels (e.g. foreign fishing vessels conducting innocent passage through South African waters).
  4. As back-up to the surveillance technology, three 35-m nearshore patrol vessels capable of operations out to 50 N.M., and a single offshore 75-m patrol vessel capable of patrolling out to the Prince Edward Islands would be the minimum requirement (Robertson 1998).


4.1 Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Figure 1. The SADC coastal member states (shaded) and fishing zones.

4.2 South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO)

  1. Co-operative management and conservation measures based on the best scientific evidence available;
  2. Application of the precautionary approach in line with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
  3. Management of stocks on the basis of precautionary reference points adopted or established by the Commission;
  4. Accounting for the impact of fishing operations on ecologically related species such as seabirds, marine mammals and marine turtles;
  5. Ensuring that management measures do not result in harmful impacts on living marine resources as a whole, and
  6. Protecting biodiversity in the marine environment.
  1. A joint international inspector scheme with procedures for boarding and inspection on a reciprocal basis;
  2. A scheme of port inspection;
  3. A scheme of scientific observation, to be implemented by each participating party, and
  4. A satellite surveillance system.

Figure 2. The proposed SEAFO Convention area (bold outline).



  1. Record the details of fishing operations (e.g. positions, times, catches etc.);
  2. Collect biological data on target species (e.g. length frequency distribution, sex and maturity staging, and otoliths for age determination);
  3. Record interactions of seabirds and marine mammals with fishing operations;
  4. Monitor the total seabird mortality and mortality per unit of fishing effort;
  5. Evaluate the efficacy of mitigation measures;
  6. Record bycatches of other species;
  7. Collect data relating to conversion factors between green weight and processed product;
  8. Monitor adherence to permit conditions, and
  9. Report unregulated and illegal fishing.

6.1 Length frequency distribution, cpue analysis and sex ratios

Figure 3. Length frequency distribution of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) catches made off the Prince Edward Islands over three fishing seasons between 1996 and 1998.

Figure 4. Standardised annual cpues (kg/hook) of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) in the sanctioned fishery off the Prince Edward Islands (from SC-CAMLR-XVII/5 1998).

6.2 Bycatch species

6.3 Incidental seabird mortality

  1. monitoring the time of longline sets;
  2. improving and testing bird line designs;
  3. reporting on the timing and position of offal discharge;
  4. reporting on weighting of lines in order to improve sink rates;
  5. monitoring and reporting the discarding of hooks;
  6. monitoring seabird abundance in the vicinity of the vessel, and
  7. reporting on other seabird interactions with fishing operations.
  1. Seabird bycatch occurred primarily in summer, with bycatch rates peaking during the chick-rearing period for white-chinned petrels. On the strength of the data collected by observers, it was recommended that the fishery be closed from February to mid-March (Ryan and Purves 1998).
  2. Although permit conditions stated that lines should be set at night only, in accordance with CCAMLR guidelines, this did not always happen. There was a considerable improvement between the 1996/97 season, when more than half of the hooks were set during the day (Ryan et al. 1997) and the 1997/98 season when daytime sets comprised 15% of the sets. During the 1997/98 season the bycatch rate of giant petrels during day-sets was almost 20 times greater than during night-sets (Ryan and Purves 1998). The increased compliance of vessels with permit conditions can, to some extent, be ascribed to the greater vigilance and experience of the scientific observers. A further innovation to minimise bird mortalities is the testing of a sub-surface setting funnel, which limits the time that baits are near the surface. Two scientific observers, one of whom constantly monitors setting operations and interactions with seabirds, have been deployed on vessels using the setting funnel to monitor efficiency. Preliminary results seem to indicate that seabird bycatch can be reduced substantially by sub-surface setting.
  3. Analysis of observer data showed that seabird bycatch rates were considerably higher in gale-force winds (Ryan and Purves 1998). It was recommended that fishers should be discouraged from setting their lines in these conditions.
  4. Seabird catch rates were greatest close to the islands, with most birds being caught within 100 km of the islands (Ryan et al. 1997, Ryan and Purves 1998). On the strength of this evidence, an exclusion zone of 5 N.M. was created around the islands in which the setting of longlines was prohibited.

6.4 Interactions with marine mammals

6.5 Unregulated and illegal fishing




ALEXANDER, K., ROBERTSON, G. & GALES, R. 1997. The incidental mortality of albatrosses in longline fisheries. Australian Antarctic Division, Tasmania, 44 pp.

ANON. 1998. Draft convention on the conservation and management of fishery resources in the south east Atlantic Ocean. SEAFO, Cape Town, unpublished Report, 21 pp.

BUESCHER, L. 1998. Draft Report of the Regional Project Review and Formulation Workshop, SADC Marine Fisheries and Resource Sector, 22-24 April 1998, Cape Town, unpublished Report, 16 pp. + 45 pp. Annexes.

CROXHALL, J.P., ROTHERY, P., PICKERING, S.P.C. & PRINCE, P.A. 1990. Reproductive performance, recruitment and survival of Wandering Albatrosses Diomedea exulans at Bird Island, South Georgia. J. Animal Ecol., 59: 775-796.

DUHAMEL, G. 1991. Biologie et exploitation de Dissostichus eleginoides autor des Iles Kerguelen (Division 58.5.1). CCAMLR Selected Scientific Papers, SC-CCAMLR-SSP/8: 85 - 106.

HUREAU, J.-C. & OZOUF-COSTAZ, C. 1980. Age determination and growth of Dissostichus eleginoides Smitt, 1898 from Kerguelen and Crozet Islands. Cybium, 3(8): 23-32.

MORENO, C.A.1991. Hook selectivity in the longline fishery of Dissostichus eleginoides (Nototheniidae) off the Chilean coast. CCAMLR Selected Scientific Papers, SC-CCAMLR-SSP/8: 107 - 119.

PURVES, M.G. 1997. Catch rates and length composition data of the longline fishery for Dissostichus eleginoides at the Prince Edward Islands: 1996/97. SC-CCAMLR-XVI/BG/28.

ROBERTSON, A. 1998. Investigation into the operation and management of the research, supply and patrol vessels owned and operated by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Unpublished Report, Arcon Services, P.O. Box 26149, Hout Bay, 7872, South Africa. 23 pp. + 11 pp. Annexes.

RYAN, P.G., BOIX-HINZEN, C., ENTICOTT, J.W., NEL, D.C., WANLESS, R. & PURVES, M.G. (1997). Seabird mortality in the longline fishery for Patagonian toothfish in the Prince Edward Islands: 1996-1997. WG-FSA-97/51.

RYAN, P.G. & PURVES, M.G. 1998. Seabird bycatch in the Patagonian toothfish longline fishery at the Prince Edward Islands: 1997-1998. WG-FSA-98/42.

SC-CAMLR/XVI/5 1997. Report of the Sixteenth Meeting of the Scientific Committee. CCAMLR, Hobart. 437 pp.

SC-CAMLR/XVII/5 1998. Report of the Seventeenth Meeting of the Scientific Committee. CCAMLR, Hobart. 437 pp.

WEIMERSKIRCH, H. & JOUVENTIN, P. 1987. Population dynamics of the Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans, of the Crozet Islands: cause and consequences of the population decline. Oikos 49: 315-322.

WILLIAMS, A.J., SIEGFRIED, W.R., BURGER, A.E. & BERRUTI, A. 1979. The Prince Edward Islands: a sanctuary for seabirds in the Southern Ocean. Biol. Cons., 15: 59-71.

Overview of concerns to fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance in South and Southeast Asia as presented at a FAO/Norway co-operative programme workshop

George. V. Everett

Fishery Policy and Planning Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.
: [email protected]



2.1 Overview

Table 1. Nominal marine fish landings reported from south and Southeast Asia by region and ocean sector. Source: FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics (1995), vol. 80.

Pacific Ocean tonnes Indian Ocean tonnes
Brunei Darussalam 4,786 Bangladesh 263,890
Cambodia 31,231 India (Bay of Bengal) 848,904
Indonesia 2,620,560 Indonesia 676,050
Malaysia 609,704 Malaysia 610,594
Philippines 1,732,890 Myanmar 606,471
Singapore 13,661 Sri Lanka 220,829
Thailand 2,320,663 Thailand 901,437
Vietnam 900,000    

2.2 Bangladesh

2.3 Cambodia

2.4 India

2.5 Indonesia

2.6 Malaysia

2.7 Myanmar

2.8 Philippines

2.9 Sri Lanka

2.10 Thailand

2.11 Vietnam


1 The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was unanimously adopted by the FAO Conference in October 1995. It provides a voluntary but necessary framework for national and international efforts to ensure sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources in harmony with the environment. Article 7.7.3 makes reference to the need to implement effective fisheries monitoring, control surveillance and law enforcement measures. The Code, and associated guidelines, includes further elaboration of issues approved in the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, which was adopted by the U.N. on 4 August 1995. The project GCP/INT/648/NOR is in fact a response to the FAO resolution 4/95, which requests FAO to make advice available for implementing the Code.

2 In 1981, FAO organised in Rome, with funding from Norway, a technical consultation of international experts in MCS for fishery management. The experts agreed on the following definitions; (a) Monitoring: involves the collection, measurement, and analysis of fishing activity on catch, species composition, effort, discards, area of operations, etc., which is to assist fishery managers to arrive at management decisions. (b) Control: involves the specifications of the terms and conditions under which resources can be harvested, and normally contained in national legislation, and provides a basis on which management arrangements are enforced. (c) Surveillance: involves checking and supervision of fishing activity to ensure national legislation and terms of access and management measures are observed. This activity is crucial to ensure that the resources are not overexploited, poaching is minimised and management arrangements are implemented.

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