PORT ELIZABETH DEEP SEA ANGLING CLUB
As a result of public pressure on sponsors to only support sustainable angling competitions, more and more angling clubs are beginning to incorporate catch-and-release into their competitive formats. Bottom fishing is a very popular ski-boat-based angling facet in South Africa, but has faced much public scrutiny as catch-and-release techniques in this fishery are difficult and sometimes ineffective.
The Port Elizabeth Deep Sea Angling Club (PEDSAC) approached the SAFER Lab to assist them in developing a catch-and-release angling format for one of their annual species based competitions which takes place in Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth.
Through a collaboration between the SAFER Lab team and the PEDSAC - a manifesto was drafted detailing a new competitive format for the PEDSAC - ECM Ford Bottom Species Challenge highlighting that the intention was to have a 100% catch-and-release competition by 2019. The first year (2017) was a massive success, with several species being mandated as catch-and-release only, and a length-based voluntary release system being instituted to encourage anglers to release fish should they choose to - without hampering their ability to record their catch for points.
The SAFER Lab will continue to collaborate with the PEDSAC to develop a model for catch-and-release bottom fishing, with a focus on improving release tactics and developing a scoring system that will hopefully eventually not require a weigh-in.