RFA Reports

The RFA has produced a number of reports in the last few years, which have useful information on responsible fishing:

  • review of the observer programme and observer data: 2002-2009
  • benchmarking study of South Africa’s fisheries compared to the rest of the world
  • review of the activities of the RFA 2009-2017

For Consumers

As a seafood lover, how do you know if the fish on your plate has been sustainably caught in a way that minimises the impact on the ecosystem? Luckily there are tools that can help.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a certification and seafood labelling organisation. Look for the blue tick on seafood products that show that the product meets international sustainability standards.

The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) uses an intuitive traffic light system to indicate whether seafood is sustainable or not. They have a variety of tools to help:

– FishMS: send the name of the seafood to 079 499 8795 to receive information

– Download the SASSI App on Android and iOS

– Download the handy pocket guide from their website.

For Commercial Fishers

The RFA runs a successful training programme for skippers and crew of fishing vessels as well as government officials. The programme aims to give attendees an understanding of the marine ecosystem and the basic principles of responsible fishing practices. For more information, click here.

Designers at Strika Entertainment have created a series of posters featuring “Joe, Captain and Lundi”, who help create awareness of key marine issues. Browse the gallery below or download the posters.

Bycatch, or the accidental catching of non-target animals in fishing gear is a problem for many marine species, including seabirds, turtles, sharks and other fish. Read more about bycatch here.

There are a number of resources available for bycatch mitigation:

Seabirds: Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Sharks: Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna

Familiarise yourself with the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing or help push for a code of conduct for your fishery, if it hasn’t already been developed. See the Code of Conduct page on our website for more information and a template.

For Recreational Fishers

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the local permit requirements in your area. Recreational fishing includes the catching of fish and the collection of other marine species for personal consumption (not for commercial purposes) on the coast and in the oceans of South Africa. The Marine Living Resources Act governs recreational fishing and requires all recreational fishers to obtain the relevant permit (which may incur a small fee, usually R50-90). Permits can be purchased from the South African Post Office. More details can be found here.
  1. Know your fishing regulations: Read up on the bag limits, closed seasons and size limits for each species you target. Make sure you have the correct permit.
  2. Clean up after yourself: Be a responsible marine user and take out everything that you brought in, especially fishing line- and pick up a few pieces of litter for good measure. Plastic pollution is a major threat to marine ecosystems. Apart from the direct effects of entanglement and larger animals eating it by mistake, there are indirect effects as well. As it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, plankton are able to eat it and plastic eventually accumulates throughout the food chain.
  3. Practice Carbon-conscious Fishing: Ensure that your boat runs as efficiently as possible to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment. Where possible use human-powered modes of transportation to get to your fishing spot.
  4. Be gentle with fish: If you catch a fish that is too small, be gentle when removing the hook and returning it to the sea. Do not use a cloth to hold the fish as this will remove it’s natural protective coating, making it vulnerable to infections.
  5. Share your knowledge with others!