The South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Sassi) has called on West Coast communities, an affluent area along the west coast of Western Cape province running north from Cape Town, to stop buying rock lobsters on the streets because it contributes to increased poaching.
Research shows that poaching has doubled in the past eight years in Eland's Bay, a fishing village 220 kilometres north of here.
WWF-Sassi in 2016 added rock lobster to its don't-buy Red Data list and launched a campaign calling on consumers to "Skip Kreef", referring to the local name for lobster or crayfish. It says the endangered lobster is on the brink of extinction because of over-fishing and poaching.
WWF-Sassi Manager Pav Pillay says: What we are asking consumers is to not purchase West Coast rock lobster, because if they purchase they create demand and eventually, there will be supply. So, by not creating demand we are hoping to actually forfeit the supply of rock lobster so that this species can recover.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says the WWF decision to add rock lobster to its Red Data list of endangered species, is extremely unfortunate. Department Spokesperson Palesa Mokomele says it will have serious consequences for small-scale fishing communities who depend on lobster sales for income.
"The red listing by WWF will not affect large commercial operators, who export 90 per cent of their catch to Asia in particular. The department is considering the matter very carefully, and also looking at ways to holistically approach this issue in order to address it adequately."
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK