It’s that time of year when south-easterly gales turn the False Bay coastline into a choppy mess, while on the other side of the peninsula in cold calmer waters the West Coast Rock Lobster has completed its spawn cycle. Summer has arrived, and along with it brought “crayfish season” – banned last year due to over-harvesting causing a significant impact to the population of these Atlantic-dwelling crustaceans. In actual fact, West Coast Rock Lobster, also known as Kreef is not crayfish at all but rather 100% lobster.
After the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI)’s Skip the Kreef campaign in 2016, which saw our local lobster move onto their ‘don’t buy red list’, restaurants were urged to remove kreef from their menus. Consumers were encouraged to whistle-blow any establishment flaunting these rules. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has announced that from 2 December 2017, fishermen can make their first catch for the 2017/18 recreational fishing season for the West Coast Rock Lobster.
However, the slow-growing, long-lived crustaceans are still on SASSI’s red list as of 1 December but were not included in their ‘black list’ – released on Black Friday and which contain rare fish which should not be considered for purchase in South Africa. Our understanding is that you can get a permit to fish for the lobster, but you should not buy it.
Consumers are advised to vote with their knives and forks, and steer away from species like the Cape Stumpnose, Wrasse, Galjoen and White Musselcracker.
Photography Paternoster Vissery