GARDEN ROUTE | HESSEQUA SPORT NEWS AND VIDEO - A deep sea fishing charter operating in Gouritsmond this season experienced the value of sustainable fishing, something they strongly advocate.
Org Niewoudt, owner of the fishing charter, is a committed conservation advocate.
Among their recent success stories is the recapture of red steenbras.
Red steenbras (petrus rupestris) or "coppers", are a prized catch among both recreational and small scale anglers. Renowned for their fighting ability, they can reach a weight of 45kg.
In September 2015, Kyle Hansen was out at sea with Nieuwoudt, when they landed a red steenbras of 61cm. She was measured, tagged and released. A shallow puncture was made in the abdomen of the fish to help it descend back to its rocky habitat some 30m below. In 2020, Andries Riersma was fishing with Org when the same red steenbras was recaptured on exactly the same GPS coordinates. It had grown to from 61cm to 93cm.
On 24 December 2020, Niewoudt recaptured another red steenbras that had been caught and tagged by Hansen in February 2020. The specimen's tag information recorded that it had been free for 305 days and had since grown 50mm, from 350mm to 410mm.
During the season Niewoudt also successfully captured, tagged and released a 35kg dusky kob during a deep sea fishing excursion.
A notable article on the tagging of 70 dusky kobs from 2016 tot 2018 in the Breede River estuary and De Hoop Nature Reserve indicates that none of these specimens moved further than just east of Gouritsmond. Their movements are tracked electronically as they swim along the coast.
"Although dusky kob is found along the entire eastern coast of South African, the data indicates that they are prevalent between the Breede River and Gouritsmond. We should utilise our own fish in a sustainable manner. If breeding pairs are preserved, our children's children too will have dusky kob," said Niewoudt.
Charter owner, operator and conservation advocate, Org Niewoudt also captured a video of the safe release of a sizeable cob, offering useful safety techniques. Video – user generated content:
It is good practice to implement sensible handling techniques to improve the likelihood of survival of any fish. These, as noted by Kyle Hansen, include:
- Keeping the fish wet at all times.
- Minimising the fish's time out of the water.
- Assisting revival of the fish until it swims off.
- Using barbless or circle hooks.
- Being prepared. Ensure all necessary equipment - release weights, tag applicator etc - is ready at hand.
- Don't touch the gills at all, as they are very sensitive.
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