Cape Town officials call for suspension of octopus fishing

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The city officials in Cape Town have called on the S.A National Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to place a ban on the Exploratory Octopus Permit until such time as a sustainable solution is introduced. This, follows the finding of a young humpback whale carcass floating about 500m off Sunny Cove, in False Bay.

The officials from the Environmental Management Department’s Coastal Management Branch launched to retrieve the carcass at first light on 27 June 2019 before it stranded on one of the city’s beaches. On arrival, the officials were able to determine that the humpback was entangled in an octopus fishery line and had drowned.

The carcass was cut free and towed to the Miller’s Point slipway for removal to a landfill site by the City’s Solid Waste Department, as determined by City protocol. The octopus fishing boat assisted with the towing of the carcass.

Approximately 17 years ago the former Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DAFF) issued the Exploratory Octopus Permit.
In 2017, at a working group meeting following the drowning of a Bryde’s whale, the City requested the then DAFF to set limits as part of the conditions of the permit.

The City is also requesting Minister Creecy to consider providing the existing octopus fishing permit holder an alternative fishing option to ensure that those employed by the fishery will still be able to earn a living.