Scientific nameBrama brama
Other namesAtlantic Angelfish, Atlantic pomfret, Engelvis, Angelfish
Fishing methodOffshore demersal trawl
Area of captureSouth Africa - FAO Area 47
SummaryAngelfish (Brama brama) is a member of the Bramidae family and is found across the world in temperate waters. Little is known about angelfish stocks in Southern Africa as there is no directed fishery for angelfish in South Africa and no stock assessment has been done for this species. Although there is no significant trend in catches, because of their variable movement patterns, they are not always available to trawl gear which could be masking possible trends. Angelfish are an oceanic epi-pelagic (0-200m) species and rarely venture near land. They are relatively slow-growing but because there is no targeted fishery for this species, stocks are considered to be healthy.
Angelfish are caught as bycatch in the offshore demersal hake trawl fishery which operates mainly off the waters of the Western Cape at depths of 110m and deeper. The offshore demersal trawl fishery operates using trawl nets which are dragged behind the boat along the ocean floor at depths from 110 - 800 m. The fishery primarily targets deepwater hake (Merluccius paradoxus) on soft, sandy bottoms as well as commercially valuable bycatch species such as kingklip (Genypterus capensis) and monkfish (Lophius vomerinus). Although trawling is a highly unselective fishing method, offshore fishing grounds are not generally very biodiverse (i.e. they are only inhabited by a few species) and the discard rate for this fishery is estimated to be 10% of the total catch. However, this fishing method is likely to have significant impacts on bottom habitats and there are concerns around the number of seabird mortalities caused during trawling (estimated at 8000 per year). The hake component of the offshore demersal trawl fishery has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2004 and the current management system for this fishery employs a number of ecosystem-based management measures which address issues such as bycatch, closed areas and benthic habitat impacts.
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