Chief Islander reports on the first half of the 2023/24 fishing season.

Fishing Season Update

From Director of Fisheries James Glass
who reviews the 2023/24 fishing season on 20th December 2023

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

TACs for the islands are as follows:

  • Inaccessible: 111 tonnes with 60% caught to date.
  • Nightingale: 95 tonnes with 56% caught to date.
  • Gough: 113 tonnes with 80% caught to date.
  • Tristan: 125 tonnes with 58% caught to date

Photo from James shows his grandson Connor in the Research RIB Jasus Tristani
when sampling fish off Nightingale Island,
showing the satellite islets of Alex or Middle Island, left and Stoltenhoff Island, right

There was a slight delay to the start of the Tristan season with the factory not being ready on the 1st July 2023.

The first fishing day of the new season was on the 27th July with 5.2 tonnes being caught. Catches so far have been excellent with ten days fishing to date, landing a total of 73 tonnes. The highest total catch landed so far by the nine local boats has been 9.2 tonnes in a single day and the most caught by a single boat 1.32 tonnes.

The fishermen are currently only using 16 traps and 32 hoop nets, and only doing daylight fishing. No gear is left overnight.

Another view of Connor aboard the Research RIB Jasus Tristani
off Nightingale Island from James.

The docking time has now been reduced to 4:00pm, 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 II was here as there was a bad flu virus going around.

The weather has also been terrible, lots of rain and easterly winds, resulting in only one fishing day in July, two in August and September, three in October and only one in both November and December. However, I don't foresee any problem to land the TAC of 125 tonnes before the deadline of 30th April 2024.