Cape Rock Oyster

(Striostrea margaritacea)

Oester, Kaapse Rots-oester

1. What is it?

Cape rock oysters (Striostrea margaritacea) are large, heavy species with a deep, cup-shaped lower valve that is cemented to a rocky surface. An earlier stock assessment for the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) region estimated that the stock is being sustainably fished. However, there is considerable concern surrounding stocks along the South Cape coast due poor data and uncertainties around the actual fishing effort. As a result, the Western and Eastern Cape were assessed separately to KZN.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

KwaZulu-Natal Coast

Cape rock oysters are harvested commercially by hand from intertidal and shallow sub-tidal rocky reefs. There should be little damage to the environment although some damage is possible from dragging sacks or baskets over the bottom. There is also a small amount of invertebrate bycatch.

South Cape Coast

Cape rock oysters are harvested commercially by hand from intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky reefs. There should be little damage to the environment although some damage is possible from dragging sacks or baskets over the bottom. There is also a small amount of invertebrate bycatch.

3. Where is it from?

KwaZulu-Natal Coast

Cape rock oysters are harvested primarily along the KwaZulu-Natal coast by a small number of commercial pickers. Currently, the north and south coast regions of KwaZulu-Natal are divided into four harvesting zones with harvesting confined to one zone in each region per year. Fishers are managed through a Total Allowable Effort (TAE) limitation. Management is considered to be largely effective; however, poor catch reporting and inadequate monitoring of catches could affect the long term survival of the stock.

South Cape Coast

Cape rock oysters are harvested primarily along the South Cape Coast from Breede River mouth to Port Elizabeth in 6 designated harvesting zones. Fishing is managed through a Total Allowable Effort (TAE) limitation. Management is considered to be partly effective due to the uncertainties surrounding catches, actual fishing effort and continuous overfishing in certain zones.