South Africa is part of a global groundfish success story

Newsletter No.4 February 2016

Fisheries for popular groundfish species like Atlantic cod, Alaska pollock and hake are stable and growing and South Africa’s deep-sea trawl fishery is part of this global fisheries success story.

Catch forecasts released at the annual meeting of the Groundfish Forum show that, far from declining or even collapsing, groundfish catches have been on a steady incline for the past five years.

“There has been a recovery,” says Sea Harvest chief executive, Felix Ratheb, newly elected to the executive committee and Board of the Groundfish Forum.

“The global catch was about 6.3 million tonnes and it’s gone up to 7 million tonnes, really as a result of all the sustainability initiatives globally. Catches have been growing consistently for the past five years.”

The Groundfish Forum is a non-profit organisation that meets annually to exchange information and study trends in the supply and demand of groundfish species. South African hake fishing companies I&J and Sea Harvest are council members and assisted with the hosting of the latest Groundfish Forum meeting in Cape Town late last year.

The Forum’s forecasts show that in 2016 catches of haddock and North Pacific hake are set to grow by 7% and 9% respectively; catches of Alaskan pollock, Cape hake and South American hakes are expected to grow between 2% and 4%; and catches of Atlantic cod, Pacific cod and redfish are projected to remain steady. Only catches of New Zealand hoki are forecast to decline in 2016, by 3%.

“For all these species, fundamental fisheries management principles have been put in place, harvests are sustainable and catch limits are enforced. South Africa can be proud that it is part of this global groundfish success story,” says Ratheb.

The chart shows the recovery of fisheries for groundfish, like Atlantic cod, haddock, Alaska pollock, hake, hoki, redfish and southern blue whiting, etc.

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