Cape Dory

(Zeus capensis)

Kaapse dorie

1. What is it?

Cape dory (Zeus capensis) are endemic, fast growing, demersal, solitary fish that only aggregate when spawning. Cape dory is commonly mislabeled as John Dory; which is however a different species ( Zeus faber ). No species specific stock assessment has been conducted for Cape Dory. The stock is considered to be optimally exploited.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Inshore demersal trawl

Cape dory are caught as bycatch in inshore and offshore demersal trawl fishery for hake (MSC certified) and sole using trawl nets. The fishery gear consists of trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at different depths up to the 110 m isobath or to 20 nautical miles from the coast, whichever is the greater distance. Demersal trawling is known to damage the seabed; the extent and impact of this damage remains unknown. Trawling is not a selective fishing method and a number of other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). Substantial effort has been made to reduce seabird deaths through the use of tori lines and research is underway to better manage the principal bycatch stocks through a co-management pilot programme.

Offshore demersal trawl

Cape dories are caught as bycatch within the within the offshore demersal trawl industry for hake (MSC certified) using trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at depths typically ranging from 110m to 800 m (known as “demersal trawl nets”). This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; the extent and impact of damage remains unknown. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). Seabird interactions with trawl cables near the surface are also a major concern. A success story in the fishery has been the implementation of effective seabird mitigation strategies developed in connection with the MSC-certification process. These strategies have resulted in a dramatic reduction in seabird-fishery interactions through the introduction of tori lines (lines covered in coloured streamers making trawl attachment lines more visible to birds) and improved disposal of offal (discards that attract seabirds).

3. Where is it from?

Inshore demersal trawl

Cape dories are caught between Cape Agulhas and the Great Kei River at depth shallower that 110m. Management is considered to be largely effective. Management is mainly directed at the target species hake (MSC certified) and sole in the form of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and permit limitations. There is a fishery conservation project (FCP) presently underway seeking to test a co-management approach that would bring under management 10 non-target species in the sector. Additional ecological concerns are little information on impacts to sensitive shark, skates and ray populations as well as impacts to the seabed. Efforts are underway to improve the scientific observer coverage at sea for this sector to better understand ecosystem impacts.

Offshore demersal trawl

Cape dories are caught as bycatch on the continental shelf edge and upper slope along the West Coast from the Namibian border southwards and on the South Coast primarily around the Agulhas Bank. Management is mainly focused on the target species (hake) in the form of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and permit limitations. There are some ecosystem-based management measures in place such as precautionary catch limits on monkfish and kingklip, tori lines to reduce sea bird interactions, and limited fishing areas (i.e. fishing within a “footprint” to limit seabed disturbance). Research is underway to better understand impacts to seabed habitats. There is however, little information on impacts to sensitive shark, skate and ray populations.