James Glass reports on Tristan's lobster fishery

Chief Islander reviews start of the 2023/24 fishing season

News of the 2023 - 2024 Tristan da Cunha Fishing Season

Report and photos from Director of Fisheries and Chief Islander James Glass
on 6th November 2023

Fishery staff measuring the carapace of a Tristan lobster on 4th October,
as part of the collection of Catch at Length Data, needed to help set the TAC's.

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Tristan Islands was set as a total of 444,000kgs (444 tonnes) for the 2023-2024 fishing season by the Island Council.

TACs for the individual outer islands are as follows:

•     Inaccessible: 111,000kgs with 50.2% of the TAC caught to date.

•     Nightingale: 95,000kgs with 24.3% of the TAC caught to date.

•     Gough: 113,000kgs with 52.5% of the TAC caught to date.

The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Tristan was set at 125,000kgs.

There was a slight delay to the start of the season with the factory not being ready on the 1st July.

The first day fishing for the new season was on the 27th July with 5219.4kgs being caught.

Catches so far have been excellent with nine days fishing to date, landing a total of 65,281.4kgs (52.2% of Tristan's TAC).

Fishing boat 'Verkenner' with crew Shane Green and apprentice Kieran Glass loading the trays and checking for undersize at the bow, whilst crew member Steve Swain is at the stern sorting the gear, on the 26th October.
This boat landed 988.1kgs (2,178lbs) on the day, not bad for a boat that takes their fishing gear out in the morning and brings it back in the evening (no overnight sets allowed)

For this season the highest total catch landed so far by the nine local boats have been 9187.7kgs and the most caught by a single boat 1321.3kgs (2,926lbs). The fishermen are currently only using 16 traps and 32 hoop nets, and only doing daylight fishing. No gear is left overnight.

The docking time has now been reduced to 4pm, to try and restrict landings, so that more whole products can be packed for the markets. A few fishing days were also lost during the time the SA Agulhas was here as there was a bad flu virus going around.

The weather has also been terrible, lots of rain and easterly winds, with only one or two fine days a week. However, there will not be a problem to land the TAC before the deadline on the 30th April.