An estimate of poaching in Area 5 using comparative catches between days of no compliance operations and when a patrol vessel was present

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University of Cape Town

Based on differences in trap catches from days with and without a patrol boat present, the annual theft by poaches from commercial traps in Area 5 is estimated to be 140 tons. For a 16 day period (covering 6 January 2015 -28 January 2015) catches were recorded in Area 5 (sub areas 1 and 2 – North Blinder and Brittania Blinder). During this period no compliance operations took place i.e. no patrol boat was operating in the area. It is known that a common poaching practice is for the poachers to operate at night removing lobsters from the commercial traps. Catches were similarly recorded for a two-day period (29-30 January 2015) when a patrol boat was present in the area – preventing poaching operations. Catches are also available for a longer time period (25/11/14-23/02/15) though this period includes the period of walkouts (after which catches dropped), and can be extracted for the period 25/11/14-28/01/15 which is before the period of the walkouts. Table 1 reports the resultant catch statistics obtained from the commercial trap fishery during these periods.