Available at :
It is not fishing activity of the demersal shark longline fishery that has caused white sharks to disappear. This is according to a panel of experts who have been reviewing the plan of action for the conservation and management of sharks.
On Tuesday 17 November, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, will present South Africa’s National Plan of Action (NPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.
This event will take place at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.
This has been a while coming and will please environmentalists and the cage-diving tourism sector. Both have commented on the apparent dwindling shark populations.
The delivery of the NOPA-Sharks is ahead of the expiration of rights in the demersal shark longline sector at the end of December 2020.
Changes to permit conditions
It has long been felt that the demersal and longline shark fishery needs more scrutiny in terms of its management.
This led to consultation with right holders in this sector earlier this year about amendments in the management measures.
This pertains to slot limits and the introduction of a mandatory scientific observer programme.
A change in permit conditions was as of 1 June 2020. This put a halt on landing soupfin and smoothhound sharks and requiem sharks outside of the slot limit from 70cm to 130cm total length.
Right holders also must carry one or more fishery observers on fishing trips at least once per quarter.
Implementation of this management measure was initially voluntary.
Several best practices related to the handling and releasing captured sharks above and below the slot limits, are included in the revised permit conditions.
This is to ensure the survival of those sharks that are caught incidentally.
Alignment with IPOA-Sharks
The Minister appointed the NPOA-Sharks panel in May 2020 to formally review the situation.
One of the things the panel has had to do is align South Africa’s NPOA with the International Panel of Action of the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks).
This falls under the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
This relates to the overall structure, completeness of the plan and identification of gaps, achievability of the plan, clarity, and areas of general progress or lack of progress.
The Minister asked the panel to provide recommendations generally with a view to improving the plan. It is also important that the fishery remains sustainably managed.
The panel has also reviewed all 62 actions of the current NPOA-Sharks in terms of their feasibility and their implementation status.
The NPOA-Sharks panel has, amongst other things, noted with concern the disappearance of the white sharks from eco-tourism hotspots. It has also concluded that this is more likely due to a shift in distribution from west to east as a result of recent Orca occurrence and predation.
It does not think this is related to the fishing activity of the demersal shark longline fishery.
The presentation of the NPOA-Sharks will form part of World Fisheries Day celebrations.
Fishing communities around the world celebrate World Fisheries Day every year on 21 November.
The day helps to highlight the critical importance of fish and the lives they sustain, both in and out of water.
Available at :