Scientific nameLiza richardsonii
Other namesHarders, southern mullet, bokkoms (sub-adult fish, usually when salted and dried)
Fishing methodCaught by line and cast-net in the recreational fishery and by commercial and small-scale/subsistence/artisanal fishers with gillnets, beach-seine nets, cast-nets, fyke-nets and traps. Also one of the main targets of the historical stone-walled trap fishery in South Africa. Was once a small purse-seine fishery in the 1970s in South Africa, which may be revived as an alternative to gillnetting.
Area of captureSouth Africa
SASSI colourOrange (CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION)*
SummaryThe South African southern mullet (Liza richardsonii), also known as harder mullet or simply harder, is a species of Mugilid. In 2000, size frequency distributions of harders suggested that the stock was over exploited in regions with high fishing effort.
Southern mullet are caught in the beach seine fishery. Beach seine fishing can impact on juvenile fish stock. Historical data for the mid nineties reports beach seine fishermen, utilizing 1 373 registered and 458 illegal nets, catching an average of 1 600 tons annually, constituting 60% harders 10% St Joseph shark and 30% "bycatch" species such as galjoen, yellowtail and white steenbras (white steenbras Lithognathus lithognathus has been placed on the IUCN red List and is protected under SA biodiversity legislation). Other than fish, no benthic faunal species impacted by this fishery is listed on any domestic or international list. According to the FAO, the weighted discard rate is approximately 4%.
The Beach seine & gillnet fishery is managed on a TAE (Total Allowable Effort) basis with a set number of operators in a netfish area. The 40% reduction in the total allowable effort (TAE) in 2000 saw recovery of the harder and some linefish bycatch on a local scale. The recovery has been short-lived due to a massive resurgence of illegal fishing. Furthermore, although remedial action does exist for the vulnerable finfish species that are caught in this fishery, implementation & lack of compliance have negated most recovery.
* Please note, Harders is currently under revision in terms of its WWF-SASSI sustainability rating, and more recent information incorporated into the assessment may affect its colour categorisation.
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