Changing the way we think about fishing and African Penguins: the African Penguin Blue Sky Workshop

African Penguin numbers have rapidly decreased over the past 50 years, and the rate has accelerated over the last decade. Reasons for this decrease in numbers include lack of prey, predation by seals and sharks, and oil spills. Although lots of research have been conducted since 2008 on the impact of the small pelagic fishery on the reduced availability of prey through the island closure...

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Understanding penguin dynamics in Algoa Bay

The African penguin – the only penguin species breeding on the African continent – is classified as endangered because it is undergoing a very rapid population decline. The numbers of these endemic penguins (Spheniscus demersus) have decreased drastically over the last few decades, with a massive 70% decline of this iconic species in the past ten years. This trend currently shows no sign...

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Fisheries Code of Conduct promotes responsible practice

A Code of Conduct for responsible fisheries in South African waters has been developed through a project commissioned by the RFA.  The RFA collaborated with independent consultants Capricorn Fisheries Monitoring (CapFish) on a project to develop a Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in South Africa. This innovative Code of Conduct was developed to provide a guideline to steer the fishing...

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Co-management the way forward for inshore trawl bycatch

A new bycatch co-management programme for the inshore trawl fishery will be piloted this year. The sustainable harvesting of bycatch species has long been an interest of the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA). A previous RFA project, in collaboration with Associate Professor Colin Attwood from UCT’s Marine Research Institute determined the range of species caught in the inshore trawl...

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Environmental awareness training posters

Tackling environmental concerns requires change at every level and creative ideas can help bring about behavioural change. This was the stance taken by the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) when formalising a partnership with Strika Entertainment aimed at creating awareness about environmental changes. Posters were designed to reiterate key marine conservation messages discussed at the...

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Rory Line: A silver lining for seabirds

Global seabird populations have experienced a recent decline, largely attributed to the incidental mortalities caused by commercial fishing operations. Scavenging birds, including many endangered albatross species are fatally attracted to fishing vessels. The recent implementation of Tori Lines has reduced seabird mortalities by up to 90%, however there are still a large number of seabirds that...

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How much energy do African penguins extract from the sea?

African penguins are severely under threat and are now considered Endangered by the World Conservation Union. Their populations have decreased by over 90% since the turn of the last century, initially as a result of egg collecting and guano scraping but more recently as a result of competition between man and penguins for a source of food – sardines and anchovies. The Responsible Fisheries...

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Potential bycatch mitigation measures: inshore trawl fishery

The inshore trawl fishery of the Cape South coast targets shallow-water hake and sole. Total allowable catches are set for these species, and permit holders hold quotas for one or both species. However, inshore trawlers catch a wide variety of species. An initial study conducted by the University of Cape Town and WWF indicates that the inshore trawl takes a substantial catch of non-target and...

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Developing Bird Mitigation Plans to reduce seabird mortality

Albatrosses are amongst the most endangered group of animals on the planet with 18 of 21 albatrosses threatened with extinction, partly as a result of their interactions with fishing gear. A proactive study conducted by the hake trawl fishery concluded that approximately 18 000 birds were killed per year. The industry responded swiftly and implemented the mandatory use of Tori Lines. Through the...

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Responsible Fisheries Training Programme

  For responsibly managed fisheries, it is important to understand the dynamics of individual populations and the ecosystem as a whole. It is equally important to have appropriate policies and regulations in place which incorporate all aspects of an ecosystem approach. However, the fact that this is a necessary but not a sufficient condition is apparent. If the people on the ground like the...

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Review of the observer programme and observer data: 2002-2009

  Data collection on fishing practices, catches and methods is necessary for the successful management of fisheries worldwide. There are various sources of data, such as skipper’s logbooks and independent surveys which can be used collectively to make management decisions. Even so, some vital information is often missing, for example discards and actual fishing practices. To overcome this...

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Who we are

The Responsible Fisheries Alliance is a non-profit body made up of like-minded organisations working together to ensure that healthy marine ecosystems underpin a robust seafood industry in southern Africa. Formed in 2009, the Alliance members continue to contribute resources and time towards the sharing of information, expertise and competencies to positively effect responsible fishing while influencing policy and fishery governance.

Latest News

Improving compliance through training

Improving compliance through training

In South Africa, the fishing sector is governed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and any person or company who desires to trade or deal with fish products needs to be in possession of a DAFF permit. Every DAFF permit is accompanied by a set of clearly outlined rules or conditions with which the permit holder needs to comply.  All DAFF permit holders are regularly...

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Taking stock of bycatch

Taking stock of bycatch

Where there is trawl fishing, there is incidental bycatch of various species – often in large quantities. Through a joint project, bycatch will now be assessed in one of South Africa’s biggest fisheries. Over the next three years, WWF South Africa (WWF-SA) and the South African Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA) will be working together on a project to make a positive impact on...

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Benchmarking South Africa’s fisheries – Global comparisons of sustainability and management

Benchmarking South Africa’s fisheries – Global comparisons of sustainability and management

Ever wondered how the sustainability of South African fisheries fair against international fisheries? The Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) implemented a project to look into exactly this. Five major South African fisheries were compared to three international fisheries per sector (representing in each case the largest global fishery, a Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC) certified fishery...

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