Patagonian Toothfish appeals fail

Patagonian toothfish Five companies in South Africa have Patagonian toothfish fishing rights. Image courtesy of COLTO

Multiple appeals to secure Patagonian Toothfish fishing rights have failed following the South African Government’s decision that there are no suitable applicants.

South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana (MP) (the Minister) assessed 14 appeals but decided the “appeals process confirmed the lack of any suitable new entrants who could conceivably be allocated a right in this fishery given the substantial financial and operational barriers to successfully participate in this fishery,” according to a Government statement.

A total of four Patagonian toothfish fishing rights were allocated with a 15-year term by the Deputy Director-General; Branch: Fisheries Management (the DDG) on 1 December 2016. A total of 29.8% of the total allowable catch for this fishery remained available for allocation to suitable new entrants.

Five right holders

Historically, there were five right holders in this fishery. The DDG refused a right to Irvin & Johnson Ltd, but the Minister accepted the company’s appeal, effective from 8 February, with an allocation of 13.4% of the total allowable catch.

An application by Braxton Security Services CC is still being considered and a decision will be made shortly.

The MFV El Shaddai and the MFV Koryo Maru II are authorised to exploit the Patagonian toothfish South African catch allowance. Both vessels are members of the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO).

Strict monitoring

Global toothfish stocks are managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), of which South Africa is a founding member.

Due to the high-risk nature of the fishery, the geographic location of the fishing grounds, the huge cost outlay to operate vessels in the fishery and the levels of IUU fishing that have dominated this fishery in the recent past, the allocation of rights in this fishery has been extremely onerous and rigorous.

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