Thursday, March 10, 2022

No new rock lobsters walkouts spotted on West Coast

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, confirmed that no new walkouts of the West Coast Rock Lobster in the West Coast, in the Western Cape, since 5 March 2022, has been reported.

However, the department warned that the potential for additional lobster walkouts or marine life dying due to anoxic conditions in the water column remains high for the foreseeable future.

‘’Satellite imagery shows that high levels of algae biomass remain between Cape Town and Paternoster, as well as along coastal regions located between Lambert Bay and Doring Bay. Warm weather and light wind predictions over the next few days will contribute to elevated risks of red tide over most the west coast,’’ it said in a statement.

Beach clean-up operations, involving various stakeholders, are continuing and about 30 tonnes of live lobster have been returned to the sea.

‘’These lobsters do not pose any threat to humans or sea life.  Rock lobsters walk out of the water because the water is starved of oxygen and they are looking for more oxygen.  Thus the rock lobsters are not toxic or ‘contaminated’ in any way, and therefore do not pose a direct threat to humans.  Lobsters which have walked out and died on the beach, however, do pose a risk because they start to rot very quickly after they die and lie in the sun on the beach. This is why the public are not allowed to pick up washed up rock lobsters (or other fish),’’ it added.

DFFE said between 10-28 February, satellite imagery indicated very high Algal biomass in St Helena bay and Elands, when the algae died and decomposed, the decaying process depleted the oxygen in the water, causing the water to become so low in oxygen that the animals had no choice but to leave the water or die. This resulted in a walkout of about 500 tones of west coast rock lobster as of the 1st of March.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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