Fishing Rights and Permits | Western Cape Government

Fishing Rights and Permits


Anybody that wants to go angling, spearfishing, use a cast or throw net or catch fish from a vessel must pay for the right to use marine resources by applying for a recreational fishing permit.  father-and-daughter-fishing

There are certain regulations that apply to recreational fishing in South Africa’s marine and estuarine environments as well as scuba-diving and jetski use in Marine Protected Areas.

For full details of the Marine Living Resources Act (Act No. 18 of 1998) and regulations, contact your local fishery control officer.

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

CapeNature is responsible for biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape. Freshwater fishing is a very popular pastime in the Western Cape. It is a requirement of the Western Cape Nature Conservation Ordinance that all freshwater anglers older than six-years are required to have an angling licence to fish public waters like rivers and state dams (for example Theewaterskloof dam or Clanwilliam dam).

Find more information on fresh water fishing permits from CapeNature

Before you can apply for a recreational fishing permit, you need to take the following general regulations into account:

  • 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 like angling, spearfishing, the use of cast or throw net, fishing from vessel or scuba diving. Learn about these regulations before your next fishing trip. You should get a fishing permit from an office authorised by the national Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Recreational permit fishing fees

To apply for a fishing permit, you’ll need to pay an initial application fee and an additional fee for the issuing of your permit, if your application is successful.

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

For more information and details about the costs to apply for an annual permit, please contact or visit  the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). 


For more information please contact:

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries a-fishing-boat

Cape Town
Tel: 021 402 3911

Fisheries Division Client Care:
Call Centre number 0860 00 3474
(0860 003 Fisheries Division of DAFF ) permit related

Contact the CapeNature offices if you need more assistance with Freshwater Fish Permits:

CapeNature head office:

Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 0000

Regional offices

Tel: 044 802 5300

Tel: 028 316 3338

Tel: 021 955 5940

Tel: 044 203 6300

Tel: 022 931 2900/7

Tel: 023 625 1621

Tel: 021 866 1560


Provided by:
Government Body: (The Government of South Africa)
The content on this page was last updated on 29 January 2018