7 November 2008
Posted to the web 7 November 2008
As part of efforts to research the population of smoothhound sharks in the Langebaan Lagoon, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) is hosting a tagging derby on Saturday.
According to the department, their marine and coastal management branch and the West Coast Shore Angling Association are cooperating in a joint venture to try to tag as many smoothhound sharks as possible.
The tagging will form part of research into the population of smoothhound sharks in the Langebaan Lagoon system.
The joint venture which is dubbed the Langebaan Lagoon Smoothhound Shark Derby 2008 is a tag-and-release tournament aimed at promoting collaborative opportunities between marine scientists and fishers to strengthen the sustainable management of marine resources.
It will further assist with existing research on the smoothhound shark population in the Langebaan Lagoon.
Recent studies have shown that the main angling target species smoothhound shark, white stumpnose and elf are resident in the lagoon.
The tag and recapture experiment will help to identify the stock size of the population of these species within the Langebaan, Saldanha Bay area and the results will inform the sustainable management of these species, the department said.
Smoothhound sharks (Mustelus mustelus) are commonly caught off the southern African coast by commercial trawlers, long-lining operations, line-fishing boats, and shore-based recreational fishermen.
Smoothhound sharks are one of the most frequently caught species. They are abundant in bays with soft substrate such as Langebaan Lagoon, where they feed on clams, worms and crustaceans.
Sharks are slow growing animals, mature late and produce small numbers of offspring. Their life-history traits make them extremely vulnerable to over-exploitation.
The tournament will be also be used to introduce the Green Marine Angling program, an initiative of the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC), in collaboration with the department.
This program is geared towards responsible angling where a code of handling is introduced to minimise the effects of poor handling practices when releasing fish, the department said.
This tournament does not only represent an exciting angling experience but also an opportunity for members of the South African Shore Angling Association to actively participate in research on a locally important species.
Only anglers who are registered members of the South African Shore Angling Association (SASAA) will be allowed to fish in this tournament.
A maximum of 100 anglers will be allowed to participate in the Derby which is taking place from 06:00 to 13:00.
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Registration will be taking place from 05:00 at the Langebaan Yacht Club