Conservation Status Of Certain Fish Species In Eastern Cape

Bronze Bream Eastern Cape ConservationThere is a large problem in terms of fishing pressure, not releasing fish and other factors that in my opinion is decreasing the fish stocks along the 60 kilometers of Eastern Cape coast line. There are some fish I am very worried about along the coastal area I am studying. A lot of them seem to be vulnerable and possibly face localised extinction along certain parts of the area. Fish I will mainly be focusing on are the Kob, Black & White Musselcracker, Springer, Rockcod species, Bronze Bream, White Steenbras along with a few other iconic Eastern Cape fish.

In the paragraphs below are reports on the fish species involved in this particular ongoing study.


The Blacktail is one of the most common reef and rock fish to be found within the area, and there numbers have dropped, but there are still a lot of them around and a sustainable population.

Bronze Bream

The Bronze Bream has become quite rare. This is no doubt due to their slow growth and the fact that they can be quite residential, so if a population of Bronze Bream has been wiped out in the area, it takes a long time for them to recover. The juvenile fish are almost absent from where they used to be plentiful. There are still big Bronze Bream around.


There is the Silver and Dusky Kob found in the area and they are not as common as they should be, especially in the rivers. There are a few places in the surf where you can successfully target Silver Kob and Dusky Kob, but there are not that many in the river systems which is strange. An obvious sign of this are the huge populations of mullet present in all the areas, too many mullet for the ecosystem to support.

Black Musselcracker

Becoming increasingly less common. Most of the bigger Poenskop are found in deeper water, so they will never be overly common from the beach. Juveniles are caught fairly often.

White Musselcracker

Becoming increasingly less common. This is due to the fact that the Brusher is a fairly residential fish and a slow growing species, and a favourite of many anglers tables. There are still a few good breeding areas for the juvenile White Musselcracker, lets just hope these areas dont get abused.

White Steenbras

Becoming increasingly less common. The juveniles of this species are caught and kept in abundance by the locals and some ignorant recreational anglers. This has had a big impact on how many White Steenbras are in the surf zones and estuaries. Thankfully there are a lot of anglers in the area who release the bigger Steenie specimens.


Rare and often very scarce. Hard to say why. I have seen more Springer in the water than I have caught/being seen caught. The status of the Springer is relatively unknown.


Garrick are quite common in the rivers in the area, but very difficult to catch sometimes. They are vulnerable to over fishing, and even specimens that get released need to be released and revived properly as most often they die when not released properly. Bigger Garrick are quite rare, this is probably because of their migratory breeding patterns.


Once the Stonebream was nearly as common as the Blacktail, but now there numbers have dwindled so much they have become rare. Juveniles are notably absent from areas that used to hold 100's of Stonebream under 15cm's. They could be disappearing like the Bronze Bream.

Yellowbelly Rockcod

Rare and often very scarce. They are residential and it is quite hard to put a status on the Yellowbelly Rockcod inshore in the area.

Catface Rockcod

Rare and often very scarce. They are residential and it is quite hard to put a status on the Catface Rockcod inshore in the area.

Koester Rockcod

Rare. The Koester is a small Rockcod that is residential and quite difficult to catch. They are a bait robbing species, and despite their large mouth don't get hooked very much. These Rockcod (When they eat your bait properly) will take it straight into a hole, thus making them hard to catch and hard to determine their status accurately.