Fishing rights and permits in the Western Cape | Western Cape Government

Fishing rights and permits in the Western Cape

fishermen-cape-townWhether you fish to make profit or fish for pleasure, you need to follow rules and regulations that protect marine life.


The Marine Living Resources Act was passed in 1998 to protect natural marine living resources by regulating fishing. The Act also regulates who has access to marine resources to ensure that these resources are fairly distributed.

Recreational fishing regulations

Recreational fishing includes any fishing that is done for pleasure or sport. The following general regulations apply:

  • You should get a fishing permit from an office authorised by the national Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
  • The selling and trading of fish is not permitted.
  • You need to use a rod, reel and line only, and follow the angling regulations when fishing.
  • Your cast net must not be larger than 6 meters in diameter.
  • If you are endorsed for spear fishing, you are allowed to catch fish of Class Pisces (that is bony fish, sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras) with a speargun only and,
  • You are allowed to fish from a vessel (like a boat) provided that you are endorsed to fish from a vessel.

Remember, there are specific regulations for different types of fishing. Learn about these regulations before your next fishing trip. 

Recreational permit fishing fees

In order to access a fishing permit, you’ll need to pay an application fee of R7. If your application is successful, you’ll need to pay a fee for the issuing of your permit. The following fees, provided by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) apply for an annual permit:

  • Abalone (not available until further notice)  R79
  • West Rock Lobster  R87
  • East Coast Rock Lobster R87
  • Molluscs, including octopus, squid, worms, other invertebrates and aquatic plants  R87
  • Mud Crab R87
  • Marine aquarium fish  R87
  • Angling R87
  • Spearfishing R69
  • Use of cast or throw net R87
  • fish-net-editedAdditional fee per vessel (only payable by skipper) for recreational fishing from such a vessel  R87
  • Scuba diving in a Marine Protected Area R85

You can also apply for a short term permit that is valid for 4 weeks:

  • Molluscs including octopus, squid, worms, other invertebrates and aquatic plants  R50
  • Mud Crab  R50
  • Marine aquarium fish  R50
  • Angling  R45
  • Spearfishing  R50
  • Use of cast or throw net – R 50
  • Additional per vessel (only payable by skipper) for recreational R50
  • Fishing from vessel – R50

How to apply for a freshwater fishing permit

CapeNature is responsible for biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape. If you are interested in applying for a permit, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Make the payment for your permit to CapeNature:

Account name: WCNCB
Bank: Nedbank
Account no: 1452048401
Branch code: 145209
Reference: HO1HO18

  1. Fax your proof or payment and your application form to the nearest office. Your licence will be issued to you immediately at the CapeNature office. Your original licence will be posted to the address indicated on the form.


Contact the CapeNature offices if you need more assistance:fish-water-rights-and-permits

CapeNature head office

Cape Town: 087 087 9262

Regional offices

  • George: 044 802 5300
  • Hermanus: 028 316 3338
  • Driftsands: 021 955 5940
  • Oudtshoorn: 044 203 6300
  • Porterville: 022 931 2900/7
  • Robertson: 023 625 1621
  • Stellenbosch: 021 866 1560

These permits are valid for 12 months from the date of issue.

Commercial fishing

Commercial fishing rights are allocated to full-time line fishers who depend on line fishing for their livelihood.

You can only be a commercial fisher if you have received commercial fishing rights. To apply for these rights, you need to review the Government Gazette. These rights are available every few years. The advertisement will provide information about the application process and necessary documents.

Learn more

CapeNature and the DAFF can assist if you need more information about fishing rights and permits. Or view frequently asked questions about fisheries.

The content on this page was last updated on 12 April 2019