A qualitative and quantitative analysis of historic commercial fisheries in the Free State Province in South Africa
van As, J.G.
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There is a general lack of information on inland commercial fisheries in South Africa. The primary objective of this study was to provide a retrospective assessment of commercial fisheries in the Free State Province based on the assessment of catch data from fisheries operating for the period 1979–2014. Permits were issued for commercial operators on 11 dams but catch data were only available for Bloemhof, Kalkfontein, Gariep, Vaal, Erfenis, Rustfontein and Koppies Dams. A total of 9 036 t of fish were harvested over the 35-year period, equating to an average (± SE) of 282 ± 185 t·yr-1. Catch composition differed between dams but comprised mainly of common carp Cyprinus carpio and the Labeos, Labeo capensis and Labeo umbratus. Based on an assessment of the available catch data, the only successful fisheries that were sustained for more than 10 years were on Bloemhof Dam (mean ± S.E.: 201 ± 25 t·yr-1 since 1981) and Kalkfontein Dam, where 127 ± 30 t·yr-1 was harvested (by an operator from Bloemhof Dam). All other fisheries appear to have failed with individual enterprises lasting between 1 and 10 years and generally yielding less than 25 t·yr-1 when operational. Success at Bloemhof Dam appears to have been dependent on the ability to harvest > 100 t·yr-1 and the long-term fisheries experience of the operators.
- RESEARCH: Weyl, O