CapMarine has an active observer programme with the South African Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA). We deploy specially trained observers to collect scientific information on hake and trawl bycatch. One of our projects specifically is aimed at separating the two hake species in commercial catches to verify and update the two-species splitting algorithm used in the assessment of Cape hake stocks. Another project includes observing the seabird-warp interactions and quantifying the number of seabird mortalities. We also have a project running which involves the observations of discards to estimate the abundance of non retained bycatch species.
To date the observers have covered a total of 789 trips (an average of 72 trips per year), 4211 sea days (average of 383 days per year), 9710 trawls (average of 883 per year) and 212 vessels (average of 19 per year) have been sampled since the commencement of the SADSTIA observer programme in November 2005. During this period on average there were observers at sea for approximately 32 sea days per month, the mean length of trips was approximately five days and an average of 13 trawls was carried out per trip. Observer coverage has been increasing every year since 2008 and the average number of sea days per month in 2014 was the highest on record at 74, as was the number of trawls sampled (1 926). In 2015, an average of 84 sea days per month is being implemented, which approximates the deployment levels of the DAFF observer programme when it was in operation.