South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
HUTCHINGS, L. et al. Marine fisheries monitoring programmes in South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2009, vol.105, n.5-6, pp.182-192. ISSN 1996-7489.
South Africa was an early leader in multidisciplinary studies of marine resources, particularly with the Benguela Ecology Programme in the 1980s and 1990s and catch records are available for some species dating back more than a century. Resources data have focused on trends in catches, fishing effort and changes in distribution and abundance of harvested resources, which often account for a major part of the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. Data have been collected by means of fishery-dependent and fishery-independent survey techniques appropriate to each particular stock and analysed using traditional single species stock assessment techniques. The data are complemented by comprehensive information on the environment and top predators and have been analysed using trophodynamic models such as Ecopath with Ecosim. Future approaches include a shift to an ecosystem approach to fisheries monitoring and management, in an attempt to reconcile utilisation and biodiversity conservation objectives. Despite these scientific achievements, the single species approach to the management of most resources still persists, with only limited interactions between competing species or predators and prey being formally taken into account when modelling the stock dynamics and providing management advice to the authorities.
Keywords : Benguela; resources; long-term monitoring; EAF.