Hake Longline Fishery Improvement Project

The main aim of the SA Hake Longline Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) is to improve the sustainable management of the South Africa Hake Longline Fishery to a level where it can confidently proceed into full assessment against the MSC’s fisheries standard by understanding and reducing impacts on ETP species and VMEs, and providing evidence of an effective MCS system.

Project outcomes will take the form of technical reports on each project activity and annual reports detailing the scope and findings of the observer program. It is expected that once the project is completed the fishery will have baseline reports on the following:

  1. Updated vessel-category seabird bycatch mitigation plans;
  2. Proposal for updated seabird bycatch mitigation measures for permit conditions;
  3. Safe handling and release guides for chondricthyans;
  4. Vessel crew training materials on bycatch identification and safe handling (seabirds/sharks);
  5. Spatially and temporally representative observer program with a target 5-10% coverage;
  6. Catch rates of ETP species;
  7. Baseline habitat maps and spatial impact of the fishery;
  8. VME move-on rules and reporting in place;
  9. Available alternative spatial management measures to protect VMEs;
  10. Evidence of an effective MCS system and proposals for improvements;
  11. Validation of the catch estimation procedure used by FCOs during offload monitoring;
  12. Comparison of factory weight estimates, skipper and offload estimates; and
  13. Recommendations for training to improve skipper understanding of logbook data requirements.

The above expected outcomes will provide quantitative information about the impact of the fishery on ETP species and VME habitats. They will also provide a measure of the effectiveness of the MCS system. This will allow the fishery to enter full assessment with a high likelihood of a conditional pass.

CapMarine anticipates close co-operation with the South African Hake Longline Association (SAHLLA) members and executive committee. Actions will be implemented at the vessel-level and direct engagement with vessel owners, skippers and crew will drive improvements.

The FIP started in January 2022 and will run through to June 2025. The funding received from the In-Transition to MSC Ocean Stewardship Fund acknowledges all of the effort the fishery has made to prove its sustainability credentials and has crystallized the focus of hake longline vessel operators to achieving recognition for their hard work. For more information, visit the MSC website

South Africa longline hake fishery: Improvements to protect vulnerable species and habitats | Marine Stewardship Council (