Jacopever

(Helicolenus dactylopterus)

Jacks, Jakopewer, Jocs

This species is under revision for hake demersal longline and offshore demersal trawl

1. What is it?

Jacopever (Helicolenus dactylopterus) are a slow-growing, long lived species with a complex reproduction cycle making them highly vulnerable to heavy fishing pressure. No stock assessment has been done for this species. Jacopever are caught as bycatch in the offshore trawl and inshore trawl fishery for hake (MSC certified) and sole (inshore trawl only).

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Inshore demersal trawl

Jacopever are caught as bycatch using trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at depths up to the 110 m isobath or 20 nautical miles from the coast. This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; however 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). Substantial effort has been made to reduce seabird deaths through the use of tori lines (bird-scaring lines) and work is underway to better understand impacts on endangered, threatened or protected species.

Offshore demersal trawl

Jacopever are caught as bycatch within the within the offshore demersal trawl industry for hake using trawl nets that are dragged along the seabed at depths typically ranging from 110 m 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 were also a major concern. However, the implementation of effective seabird mitigation strategies such as tori lines (lines covered in coloured streamers making trawl attachment lines more visible to birds) and improved disposal of offal (discards that attract seabirds) has resulted in a dramatic reduction in seabird-fishery interactions.

3. Where is it from?

Inshore demersal trawl

Jacopever are caught mainly on the Agulhas Bank off the South Coast. Management measures are considered to be largely effective and mainly focused on the target species (hake and sole) in the form of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and permit limitations. Additional measures in place include precautionary catch limits and fishing only in historical fishing grounds. More effort is required to improve at-sea scientific observation of fishing activities to better understand ecosystem impacts.

Offshore demersal trawl

Jacopever 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 (MSC certified - 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.