Recreational Bait Collection

Illustration, Minimum size, Bag limits and
Collection method
Bait and Shellfish Harvesting
Bait and shellfish harvesting are usually collected by small
scale and recreational fishers to fish and to eat.
These collection is done by hand or by using a implement
subscribed by the regulations.
This method is used to collect fixed or slow moving species
such as alikreukel, octopus, limpets, chitons, urchins,
oysters, red bait and mussels.
This method has very little habitat damage implications and
no bycatch, therefore harvesting a species with this method
at a sustainable rate has very little to no implication on the
No person may engage in collecting certain classes of
shellfish between sunset on one day and sunrise on the
following day. See recreational brochure.
Remember when you collect bait or shellfish you need to
obtain a permit and stay with the bag and size limit of the
regulations listed in the recreational brochure issued by the
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Oysters Harvesting
Oysters are one of the most harvested
shellfish along the Southern Cape and
KZN coast line. The Cape rock oyster,
occurs low on the shore and are
recreational prepossess. Collectors
may collect oysters only from the
intertidal zone and must leave the deep
sub-tidal oysters to breed and
replenish the intertidal zone stocks.
Recreational fishers only allowed to
collect 25 oysters per day.
Cape rock oyster
Collection may only be done by hand or
with an implement with a blade or a flat
edge not exceeding 40 mm and not shorter
than 1 m in length .
Natal rock oyster
Pearl oyster
Four species of rock mussels are found along
the South African coast - the black,
Mediterranean and ribbed mussels along the
south-west coasts and the brown mussel on
the south-east coasts. Only 30 rock mussels
of any species may be collected per day.
Mussel Harvesting
White or sand mussels are found on the sandy
beaches along the coast. They bury
themselves up to 20 cm under the sand and
can only be collected at low tide. 50 white
mussels and not smaller than 35 mm in
diameter, may be collected per day.
White / sand Mussel
Collection may only be done by hand or with
an implement with a blade or flat edge not
exceeding 12 mm in width.
Black Mussel
Brown Mussel
Mediterranean Mussel
What is Redbait
Redbait is an animal with a hard, dark
brown outer shell with a bright red
Redbait have two funnel-shaped
openings known as siphon pipes and
feed on plankton and therefore are
filter feeders..
They sit very close to each other on
rocks and on the sea bed.
Redbait is very good to catch many
kinds of fish, but it is well known
among fishermen to catch Galjoen.
Only 2 kg of unshelled bait may be
collected per day.
The base of the outer shell must be left
behind on the rocks.
Collection may only be done by
hand or with an implement with a
blade or flat edge not exceeding 12
mm in width.
Chitons- Armadillo
Chitons are slow-moving molluscs that
can cling tightly to rocks.
The shell has eight distinct segments held
together with supple muscles and a fleshy
belt around the shell.
When its removed from a rock, it roll up
into a tight ball to protect the body inside.
They are in high demand as food in the
rural Eastern Cape and as bait for
recreational anglers for catching fish.
Only 6 chitons may be collected per day
and only by hand.
Argenville’s limpet
Pear limpet
Many different species of limpets occur along
the South African Coast.
Most limpets have fairly flat shells adapted to
live in the intertidal zone where there is strong
wave action.
The larges concentration of limpets species in
the world occurs along the South African coast.
Granite limpet
Long-spined limpet
The pear and long-spined limpets are the best
known along the Southern Cape coast.
Limpets are harvested as food by recreational
anglers and as bait to catch rock lobsters by
small scale fishers.
Only 15 limpets of any species may be collected
per day.
Only 10 seaworm, including poluchaete, wonder
shingle, moondhine, coral, pot, pudding, rock,
tape & flatworms may be collected per day by
Poluchaete worm
Collection may only be done by hand or
with an implement with a blade or flat
edge not exceeding 12 mm in width.
Turban Shells
Alikreukels and periwinkles are snails
with a low spiraled shell and a round
shell opening.
Periwinkels are abundant in the intertidal
The Alikreukel or giant periwinkle has a
characteristic knobbed calcified door,
called a operculum that block the
opening when it withdraws in to the shell.
Alikreukels are becoming scarce due to
Periwinkles or topshells have a horny,
flexible operculum.
Only 5 Alikreukels may be collected by
hand per day and not smaller then
63.5mm in diameter.
For the smaller periwinkle only 50 may
be collected by hand per day.
Periwinkles / topshell
Porcupines of the sea
Pencil urchin
Cape urchin
Many exotic and unusual species of sea urchins
occur along the warm subtropical waters of the
KZN coast.
Like the Pencil urchin with its long thick pencil
like spines are collected and sold as ornaments
and chimes.
Pansy shells are flat urchins with short spines
and a characteristic petal-like pattern.
Pansy shell
The Cape urchin is abundant on rocky shores
around the whole South African coast.
Pumpkin shell
Urchins are collected mostly for their shells and
their gonads (eggs), eaten as a delicacy.
Only 20 urchins may be collected per day by
hand, excluding live pansy shells.
Sea cucumbers
Spiny starfish
Urchins are members of the phylum
Enchinodermara which includes starfish
and sea cucumbers. These animals are
five-rayed symmetrical and have spines
or specula in their skin. 20 cucumbers
ma be collected per day
Harvesting of Rock Lobsters
The recreational season to harvest
East and West Coast rock lobsters
will be announce by the Minister of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
during November of each year.
Lobsters in berry may not be
caught and all lobsters harvested or
transported must be in a whole
Only 4 West Coast and 8 East
Coast rock lobsters may be
collected per day for own use.
The minimum size is 80mm
measured from the centre of the
posterior edge of the carapace to
the tip of the middle anterior spine
for WCRL and 65mm for ECRL.
A lobster take 7 years to grow the
legal size for collection.
Why Abalone Become so Scarce?
Rock lobsters have moved and increased in
the main area where abalone live.
Rock lobsters eat the urchins and the baby
abalone have nowhere to hid and are eaten
by predators.
Abalone being overfished by poachers and
even collect the undersize juveniles.
To many abalone are harvested at one area
and those that are left are too far apart to
Siffie /Venus ear
Abalone take between 8-10 years to reach
the legal size off 110 mm in diameter for
harvesting by the commercial industry.
Rock lobsters
The recreational abalone season has been
close until further notice and it also apply to
the Siffie or Venus ear species.
For more information, consult the latest
recreational brochure.
Crabs & hermit crabs
A variety of species of crabs occur
along the South African Coast. Most
crabs are collected as bait by
recreational fishers to fish with.
Only 15 may be collected per day
by hand.
Large Red Crab
Ghost Crab
Hermit Crab
Cape Rock Crab
Natal Rock Crab
Shore Crab
The Wizard of the Sea
The octopus belongs to the group known as
cephalopods (meaning head-footed), which includes
squid and cuttlefish.
Octopus has eight arms whereby squid and cuttlefish
have two extra long arms to catch their pray.
Octopus hides in crevices among rocky shores and
reify areas along the South African coast line.
Octopus is high in demand as bait and as food by
recreational fishers and sometimes collected more than
the allowed bag limit.
Cuttlefish are common in open estuaries and sheltered
lagoons, fortunately their demand is low and sometimes
smaller species are used as bait by fishers.
Squid are caught as bait from recreational ski-boats
and only 20 are allowed to be collected per day by
hand or line.
Only 2 octopus and cuttlefish may be collected per day
by hand or line and gaff.
An octopus has no shell and can go
through any opening the same size
as its beak when it try to escape
from predators.
Bait Collecting in Estuaries
Sand prawn
Mud prawn
Sand prawns, also known as pink prawn or cracker
shrimp are abundant on sand flats of close estuaries
and dig burrows to at least 1 meter deep.
Mud prawns are green-brown in colour and live in Ushaped burrows on the mud flats which are easily
visible during low tide.
Prawns are collected as bait by recreational fishers
and at some areas illegally sold to tourist.
Pencil bait
Mud crab
Blood worm
Bloodworms are endemic to South Africa and occur
in U-shaped burrows on sandy areas in open
Pencil bait or razor clams are elongated, almost
cylinder shaped and occur in sandy regions near the
mouth of a estuary.
Only 50 prawns, 20 pencil bait and 8 clams may be
collected per day by hand and a suction pump or
inverted tin.
Only 5 bloodworms may be
collected per day by hand and a
suction pump or wire.
The mud crab, also known as the
Knysna crab is one of the largest
swimming crabs that occur along the
South Africa estuaries. Only 6 crabs may
be collected per day which the carapace
measured at 140mm across.

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