Price of snoek determined by fish auctioneers (‘langaners’) leaves salty taste among fishermen

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Snoek I recently caught in False Bay. Photo credit: Chesney Bradshaw

I haven’t been snoek fishing for quite some time but in the last week of December 2021 I was able to go out on a commercial line fishing boat from Kalk Bay.

One of the interesting things was the moans and groans about the fish auctioneers or in local speak “langaners”. To be completely accurate only one fish auctioneer operates from Kalk Bay Harbour and therefore has a monopoly on the fish market.

The main reason for this situation is that there are only a few hand line fishing boats left in the harbour. It has become too uneconomical to still operate a fishing boat.

Costs of everything have gone up. This includes the cost of fuel, bait and licences, etc.

So the handful of boats still operating from Kalk Bay Harbour means that other fish auctioneers are not interested in supporting the tiny number of commercial fishing boats.

Fishermen are terribly unhappy about fish auctioneers. The fishermen receive R50 a snoek and the fish auctioneer sells it to the public for R150.

But from my experience over many decades they’ve always been unhappy about them. Fisherman always believe they can get a higher price if they sold their catch themselves.

However, even though they are free to go ahead, it’s unlikely that they can catch fish and sell them on the same day. They don’t have the distribution network for selling their fish. This is why they have to rely on the fish auctioneers.

It’s understandable that fishermen are unhappy but until a better system is worked out the status quo will prevail.

Ii you’ve got any solution, you’re welcome to add your comment in the comments section below.

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