Kingklip

(Genypterus capensis)

Koningkilp, Baby kingklip

Species is currently under revision for inshore and offshore trawl component.

1. What is it?

Kingklip (Genypterus capensis) are relatively slow-growing, long-lived fish found in rocky areas along the continental shelf and upper continental slopes. Kingklip is a commercially important species and a popular eating fish. During the 1980s, kingklip was subject to intense fishing pressure and stock levels were severely depleted. Current assessments indicate that stocks are slowly recovering and are being harvested at sustainable levels.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Hake demersal longline

Kingklip are caught as bycatch within the hake demersal longline fishery using a bottom set double line system with baited hooks placed 1.5m apart (known as “demersal longlines”). Lines may contain nearly 20,000 hooks and extend over 10 km along the sea floor. In some cases, shallow-water Cape hake is caught alongside deep-water Cape hake species using longlines at varying depths. A recent study as part of the fishery conservation project (FCP) revealed that the fishery has very few interactions with endangered, threatened and protected species (ETP), with few discards and low levels of bycatch. Impact on benthic habitats is considered to be minimal although more information is required.

Offshore demersal trawl

Kingklip 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 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). Kingklip is also imported from New Zealand as Ling which was recently MSC certified in the demersal trawl industry.

3. Where is it from?

Hake demersal longline

Kingklip are caught as bycatch around the Agulhas Bank off the south coast. Management is mainly focused on the target species (hake- MSC certified) in the form of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and permit limitations. Management of the sector is considered largely effective as a result of the work conducted during the FCP. Continuing challenges include the lack of a government-funded observer programme and the slow progress regarding the implementation of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries management.

Offshore demersal trawl

Kingklip 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- MSC certified) 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.