The South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association

Unlocking the value of the Cape hake resource

Our members participate in a sustainable, MSC-certified fishery, provide approximately 12 400 jobs and deliver R8.5 billion to the South African economy every year.

12 400

People employed


Total contribution


MSC certification

About us


With a membership of 25 companies, SADSTIA works closely with government, organised labour, the scientific community, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to promote the stability and sustainability of the deep-sea trawling industry.


At SADSTIA, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We work closely with scientists, government and NGOs to ensure that our fishing practices are based on the best available science, and that we operate within the limits of what the ocean can sustain.


The Marine Stewardship Council is the world’s leading certification programme for wild-caught seafood.

Bycatch management

SADSTIA works with scientists and conservationists to monitor and manage trawl bycatch.


SADSTIA members only trawl on historically used grounds — 4.4% of South Africa’s exclusive economic zone.


SADSTIA members comply with a suite of regulations to ensure the safety of seabirds on the trawl grounds.


SADSTIA’S largest members contribute to the Alliance which works for healthy marine ecosystems.

Trawling in South Africa

Presenting the facts about bottom trawling in South Africa: where it occurs, how it is regulated and the work that is done to minimise impacts on the marine ecosystem.


Explore the South African deep-sea trawling industry

Facts and figures

Discover key facts and figures about the deep-sea trawling industry in South Africa.


Discover the Cape hakes, their history, and the management of hake fisheries in South Africa's deep-sea trawling industry.


Explore the management of the deep-sea trawl fishery and the markets that drive its success.

History of the Fishery

Explore the rich history of South Africa’s hake fisheries.



A fisher’s life

Meet the men and women who bring the hake to your plate

Together we fish for the future

On World Fisheries Day 2022, SADSTIA and the MSC partnered to produce this film short film that highlights the contribution of the seafood industry and civil society to safeguarding the ocean.

Four seafarers reach the peak of their profession

On the International Day of the Seafarer, SADSTIA celebrates the personal journeys and achievements of four newly qualified skippers working in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery.

What the camera saw

A five-year survey of the Karbonkel trawl grounds, situated in deep-water off the coast of the Northern Cape, opens a window on the deep-sea environment in which the Cape hake stocks live.

Employment in the
hake deep-sea trawl fishery

Approximately 6 600 South Africans are employed by the hake deep-sea trawling industry, either on fishing vessels, at land-based processing plants or in a range of management, administrative or supportive roles.

5 400

permanent employees

1 200

seasonal employees

5 800


12 400

The fishery is responsible for over 2 114 jobs (1 816 permanent and 298 seasonal) in non-metropolitan areas such as Gansbaai, Mossel Bay, Saldanha Bay and St Helena Bay.
Wage bill
The total wage bill for permanent employees is R1.4 billion per year. Wages are considerably higher than the national minimum wage:
Conditions of employment
The full spectrum of South African labour law protects workers in the hake deep-sea trawl fishery and a unique labour relations framework has been established for sea-going workers. A Bargaining Council was established in 2001 and a Collective Agreement, that sets out basic conditions of employment – such as set daily wages for each category of worker, set hours of work and regulated rest and leave periods – has been in effect since 2 May 2003.

Investment in the
hake deep-sea trawl fishery

The industry that has developed around the hake deep-sea trawl fishery is highly capital-intensive. It utilises ocean-going vessels, sophisticated processing plants and significant skill to produce high quality products for local and international markets.
The insured asset value of vessels and processing facilities is

R7.6 billion

Processing factories

Black economic empowerment
and the hake deep-sea trawl fishery

South Africa’s hake deep-sea trawl industry is 67% black owned and a level 2 contributor to broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE).

Felet, A., Finadeiro, F., Ntzanzi, A., van der Hoven, Z., Moses, P-J & Goagoses, L. 2020. Economic study of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery and the implications for future fishing rights allocation policy, Johannesburg, South Africa, Genesis Analytics, 135pp.

The socio-economic contribution
of the hake deep-sea trawl fishery

A sustainable and

The South African hake trawl fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading certification and eco-labelling programme for sustainable wild-caught seafood.
The status of the stocks

Stocks of both deep water hake (Merluccius paradoxus) and shallow water hake (Merluccius capensis) are considered by scientists to be “above maximum sustainable yield”. This
means the growth of the stock is in balance with fishing activity and current catch levels are sustainable over time.

The fishery was first certified in 2004. In March 2021 it was recertified for a fourth five-year period. During re-certification, every aspect of the fishery is assessed against the MSC Standard which has three core principles:
Sustainable fish stocks
Minimising environmental impact
Effective fisheries management

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