Half kob, Cob, Kabeljou
Area of capture
South Africa - FAO Area 47
Orange (CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION)*
The squaretail kob (Argyromus thorpei) is a member of the Sciaenidae family, which includes kob, geelbek and baardman. Squaretail kob mostly occurs in KwaZulu-Natal and is one of three kob species in South Africa, all of which were previously thought to belong to just one species. They were previously one of the most important species to inshore commercial and recreational fishers, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal, making up 37% of total commercial catch. However, this figure has now dropped to 5% and the stock is considered to have collapsed. This species is endemic to Southern Africa and is likely to be placed on the IUCNï¿½s Red list within the next year. They are a non-migratory shoaling species which mostly occur in coastal waters but are seldom found inshore. Adults are found over rocky reefs while juveniles tend to be found on shallow (15-50m) soft bottom habitats where they are often caught as bycatch in shallow water prawn trawls.
Squaretail kob are mainly caught in the traditional linefishery which operates from small ski- and deckboats within the inshore zone along most of the South African coastline. They are also a popular target for recreational linefishers and juveniles are caught as bycatch in the shallow water prawn trawl fishery in KwaZulu-Natal; squaretail kob caught in shallow water prawn trawl fishery are considered less sustainable than the linecaught animals. Linefishing is a relatively selective fishing method which has few impacts on the marine environment and is carried out with either a rod and reel or a handline. There is generally very little bycatch or habitat damage caused by this fishing method. However, some species targeted by this fishery are over-exploited or collapsed because of their specific life history characteristics.
Minimum size limits apply to this species depending on where it is caught:
Cape Agulhas to Umtamvuna river: 50 cm
Kwa-Zulu Natal: 40cm
West of Cape Agulhas: 50cm
West of Cape Agulhas: 50cm
East of Cape Agulhas: 60cm
*Please note, this species is currently under revision in terms of its WWF-SASSI sustainability rating, and more recent information incorporated into the assessment may affect its colour categorisation.
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What can YOU do?
Rather choose a green-listed alternative such as gurnard or kob farmed in land-based farms. These alternatives have similar firm, white, flaky flesh as Squaretail kob caught by the linefishery. Or if you donï¿½t want to cut line caught kob out of your diet completely, eat it on a special occasion rather than every time you eat out.