Nightingale & Inaccessible lobster fishery recovery: cautious optimism
- Fishery Update - Post Oliva
From Administrator Sean Burns on 3rd December 2012
A workshop was recently held in Cape Town to assess the latest test fishing data from Nightingale and the lobster juvenile surveys at Nightingale and Inaccessible.
Nightingale Island Fishery
The latest test fishing suggests that although there might have been some mortality of adult lobsters, this was not as extensive as previously thought. It is difficult to assess why previous catch rates were so poor but possibilities are that the lobsters migrated away from the fishing grounds or simply stopped feeding. To assess this further it was agreed to fish commercially for a week to see if catch rates could be maintained. This was carried out and we are pleased to report that the rates were positive. For the 2012/13 season it was agreed that an upper limit of 40 tonnes (which includes the test fishing since July as well as the commercial fishing) be allocated to Nightingale. Everyone agreed that the fish catch was free from contamination and taint.
Inaccessible Island Fishery
The worry at Inaccessible has always been that the juveniles were affected but it maybe some years before any evidence of this is seen. It was agreed that we should deal with this issue if and when it arises rather than try and predict the outcomes and react accordingly. The workshop also discussed the ongoing problem (not Oliva related) of discards at Inaccessible and agreed to reduce the minimum size to 66mm. The workshop agreed to increase the TAC (Total Annual Catch) at Inaccessible to 70 tonnes for the 2012/13 season.
There are still many uncertainties but things do look more positive than 12 months ago. That said, Tristan will continue to adopt a precautionary approach to the management of the fishery.