Fishermen along the Northern Cape coast say the bumper snoek season will come, but only after Easter. This is normally their busiest time, but the snoek are simply not “biting.” Fishermen are reporting poor catches ahead of the busiest fish eating time on the Christian Calendar.
The icy Atlantic has been a source of food and income for fishermen from this area for generations. In 2018, snoek was aplenty in the water in time for the lucrative Easter market, but in 2019, most braais and pickled fish containers will have to feature other species.
Fisherman Richard De Wee says that they are hoping the fish will come after Easter so that they can make a living from it.
“Last year, we had great catches, but not this year. We are hoping they will come after Easter, so that we can make a living from the sea again.”
The Easter catches are an economic boost for the area and can put food on the table and pay bills for months.
Another fisherman, Eric Magerman says they want the fish before Easter as the prices are better.
“We want it before Easter because the prices are much better. When they come after Easter, they flood the market and we don’t get the prices we want. In this zone every boat makes his own price, we do not take bids on our fish.”
Boats are coming in with as little as two snoek, forcing fishermen to either take it home or risk a bargain to cover costs.
Fisherman Jeremia Owies says the catches are very poor in Port Nolloth.
“The catches were poor today; the catches are very poor in Port Nolloth this year. We only caught eight and the weather was bad. So we are hoping to sell this for between R150 to R200.”
Fishermen will continue to go every morning, and they – and their customers – continue to hope for a good catch.
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