Court ruling to shut down perlemoen fishery hailed

The environmental affairs department yesterday hailed the Cape High Court's ruling on perlemoen or abalone permits and stuck to its guns regarding the closure of the commercial perlemoen fishery.

The environmental affairs department yesterday hailed the Cape High Court's ruling on perlemoen or abalone permits and stuck to its guns regarding the closure of the commercial perlemoen fishery.

An urgent interdict brought against the department by a "splinter group" within the SA Abalone Fishers Association to halt the issuing of perlemoen permits to commercial perlemoen right holders failed on Tuesday.

The interdict sought, among other things, that the department stop issuing permits, which would effectively have prohibited right holders from fishing with immediate effect, the department said in a statement.

This comes after the announcement that the closure of the commercial perlemoen fishery will be implemented from February 1 next year.

The department says the perlemoen resource is threatened with extinction and urgent drastic measures are required to prevent the resource from total collapse.

Over the past 10 years the total allowable catch (TAC) has been reduced annually from 615 tons in 1995 to a record low of 125 tons for the 2006/7 season and an all time emergency low of 75 tons for the shortened 2007/8 season.

The decline of the perlemoen stocks is a result of poaching and ecological changes.

In 2003 a moratorium had been placed on the recreational abalone fishery due to the rapid declining of the resource.

"The closure of the commercial fishery is considered the only viable option at this stage to provide an opportunity to prevent a total commercial collapse of this highly valued, almost globally extinct resource," the department repeated yesterday.

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