Cape salmon (market)
Area of capture
Geelbek (Atractoscion aequidens) is a member of the Sciaenidae family, which includes Kob, Geelbek and Baardman. It is a migratory shoaling species in which the adults tend to migrate from the Western and Eastern Cape towards KwaZulu-Natal, where they spawn during spring. Adults tend to form spawning aggregations in well know localities in KwaZulu-Natal, where they are often targeted by commercial and recreational linefishers. It is an important seasonal species to commercial and recreational linefishers throughout their distribution. By 1997, Southern African spawning stocks were thought to have collapsed with spawning stocks depleted to approximately 6% of their unexploited populations. Current assessments show that this species is still overfished although there may be some evidence for slight recovery on the east and south-east coasts.
Geelbek are mainly caught in the traditional commercial linefishery which operates from small skiboats within the inshore zone along most of the South African coastline. They are also often targeted by recreational linefishers and sometimes by treknetting in False Bay. They are also taken as bycatch in the inshore demersal trawl fishery in the Southern Cape. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method which has few impacts on the marine environment and is carried out with either a rod and reel or a handline. There is generally very little bycatch or habitat damage caused by this fishing method. However, some species targeted by this fishery are over-exploited or collapsed because of their specific life history characteristics.
There is a TAE (total allowable effort) system in place for in the traditional commercial linefishery based on scientific advice, so there is control on the linefishing effort. Various other regulatory measures are also implemented in this fishery such as minimum size limits and daily bag limits for recreational fishers.
The minimum size limit is 60cm TL for recreational and commercial fishers and there is a daily bag limit of 2 fish per person per day for recreational fishers.
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What can YOU do?
Rather choose a green-listed alternative such as wild-caught yellowtail, angelfish, dorado or kob farmed in land-based farms. These alternatives have similar firm, small flakes and medium oil flesh as geelbek/Cape salmon caught by the linefishery. Or if you don't want to cut line caught geelbek/Cape salmon out of your diet completely, eat it on a special occasion rather than every time you eat out.