The Department of Environmental Affairs has recently published a new government gazette with a list of marine species that are threatened or in need of protection. Therefore certain activities such as hunting, catching, exporting, feeding or attracting of these species are prohibited.
The document lists 16 Elasmobranch species plus all members of the Sawfish family. To our current knowledge these include at least two but possibly four species of Sawfish occurring in Southern Africa.
A quarter of cartilaginous fish (sharks, skates, rays and chimaera) worldwide are threatened. The main threats these species face are overfishing, both targeted and incidental, climate change, habitat destruction and pollution. Growing urban developments and increasing pollutant discharge into coastal waters particularly affect coastal species.
We have previously reported about the potential impact of shore-based angling bycatch on South African catsharks. With the release of the new government gazette on 30 May 2017, three catshark species are now protected: The Pyjama shark (Poroderma africanum), the Leopard catshark (Poroderma pantherinum) and the Natal shyshark (Haploblepharus kistnasamyi).
Here is a list of sharks and rays that are protected under the Biodiversity Act, 2004 and some of the activities that are prohibited in regards to these species:
Natal shyshark (Haploblepharus kistnasamyi)
Leopard catshark (Poroderma pantherinum)
Pyjama shark (Poroderma africanum)
Flapnose houndshark (Scyliogaleus quecketti)
Sixgill sawshark (Pliotrema warreni)
Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini)
Great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
White shark (Carcharodon cacharias)
Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
Spotted raggedtooth shark (Carcharias taurus)
Sawfishes – All species within the family Pristidae
Giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis)
Ornate sleeper ray (Electrolux addisoni)
Reef manta ray (Manta alfredi)
Oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris)
Hunting, or killing
Catching or capturing
Gathering or collecting
Importing into the Republic
Exporting from the Republic
Growing, breeding or in any other causing it to multiply
Having in possession or exercising physical control over
Conveying, moving or otherwise translocating
Selling or trading, receiving, giving, donating or accepting as a gift