DEFF announces 2020/21 west coast rock lobster total allowable catch (TAC) and recreational fishing season

25 October 2020

The 2020/21 west coast rock lobster total allowable catch (TAC) and the recreational fishing season has been announced by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

A TAC of 837 tons has been determined for the 2020/21 fishing season, taking in to account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, the highly depleted status of the west coast rock lobster (WCRL) resource, and lower-than expected resource status indicators.

"Covid-19 had a negative impact on market demand for the majority of the 2019/20 season, with losses being incurred by the west coast rock lobster fishing sector. 

By increasing the catch allowance for the new season, the intention is to assist the sector in their economic recovery," said the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy. The 2020/21 TAC is a 22.8% reduction of the TAC of 1084 tons for the 2019/20 fishing season.


The apportionments per sector are as follows:


Description 2019/2020 TAC (t) 2020/2021 TAC (t)
Commercial fishing (offshore) 563.91 435.88
Commercial fishing (nearshore) 170.25 131.03
Recreational fishing 38.76 30.08
Subsistence (interim relief measure) fishing 170.25 131.03
Small-scale fishing sector (nearshore)
Small-scale fishing sector (offshore) 140.83 108.97
Foreign fishing 0.00 0.00
Total: 1084 837.0


Similar to previous fishing seasons, the department will apply effort limits to restrict the daily bag/catch limits and the number of fishing days. The commercial and small-scale fishing sectors are authorised to undertake fishing for four months in each super-area/zone. The start and end dates for the fishing season per sector and super-area/zone are as follows:


Area Catch period
Commercial nearshore, interim relief, small-scale: nearshore Commercial offshore, small-scale: offshore
Super-area 1+2 15 Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, 15 Feb  
Super-area 3+4 15 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, 15 Mar 15 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, 15 Mar
Super-area 5+6 15 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, 15 Mar  
Super-area 7   Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar
Areas 8 and 11 15 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, 15 Mar Jan, Mar, Apr, May
Area 8 (deep water)   Jun, Jul
Areas 12, 13 and 14 15 Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, 15 Mar  


The 2020/21 WCRL recreational fishing effort is limited to 12 days between 28 November 2020 and 3 April 2021. Fishing will be allowed as follows:

  • From 28 November 2020 to 29 November 2020 (2 days);
  • From 12 December 2020 to 13 December 2020 (2 days);
  • From 26 December 2020 to 27 December 2020 (2 days);
  • From 1 January 2021 to 2 January 2021 (2 days);
  • From 9 January 2021 to 10 January 2021 (2 days);
  • From 2 April 2021 to 3 April 2021 (2 days).

It should be noted that only persons over the age of 12 may obtain a recreational fishing permit allowing the fishing, collecting, keeping, controlling, landing, transporting of, or possession of not more than four WCRL per day. A permit costs R94 and can be purchased at the South African Post Office. A recreational fishing permit is valid for the entire season. 

WCRL may be caught between 08h00 until 16h00 daily. The bag limit is four per person per day and the size restriction is 80 millimetres carapace length. No person catching WCRL with a recreational fishing permit may sell their catch. Any lobster caught, collected or transported must be kept in whole.

The Government Gazette Notice in respect of the recreational fishing season will be issued.

For further information please contact:
Wendy West, Deputy Director: Large Crustaceans Fisheries Management
Tel: 021 402 3120

For media enquiries contact:
Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871