Black Musselcracker

(Cymatoceps nasutus)

Poenskop, Black steenbras, Poensie, Swart steenbras, John cracker, black mussel cracker

1. What is it?

Black musselcracker (Cymatoceps nasutus) are endemic, slow growing, long-lived fish making them extremely vulnerable to fishing pressure. Although recent analyses seem to indicate that the stock is optimally exploited, considerable uncertainty remains. Black musselcracker are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Black musselcracker are caught using traditional rod and reel or handlines. In general, linefishing is a selective fishing method with few impacts on the marine environment. When fishing for resident reef fish species, the linefishery is likely to impact overfished, vulnerable or ETP species. However, when fishing for highly mobile pelagic species the impact is generally lower. Catches of un-managed bycatch species are moderate making up around 12% of the total catch.

3. Where is it from?

Black musselcracker are found along the South African coast from Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. Management for the sector is considered partly effective. In South Africa, this sector is principally managed through a total allowable effort (TAE) limitation and species-specific minimum size (50 cm TL) and bag (1 pp/pd) limits. There is concern over the impact of the continuously growing recreational sector as well as uncertainties surrounding the allocation of small-scale fishing rights. Some steps have been taken to implement an ecosystems approach to fisheries (EAF) management including the recent addition of 21 new Marine Protected Areas which are likely to provide additional protection to several linefish species.