East Coast Rock lobster Crayfish. (Panulirus homarus)

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Rock lobsters or spiny lobsters are popularly known as crayfish, but should be distinguished from the freshwater crayfish, which are considerably less popular in restaurants! Rock lobsters like crabs, belong to the crustacean family and have a horny exoskeleton (carapace) but they have a long tail ending with a tail fan. The East Coast rock lobster is brick red with orange spines and blue-green markings on the head.

There are two horns next to their eyes but unlike other species, there are no spines between these horns. The rock lobsters that may be sold in restaurants are either West Coast rock lobsters (Panulirus lalandii) or deep-water rock lobsters (Palinurus spp.) both have spines between their horns.

The East Coast rock lobster occurs from central Mozambique and Madagascar to East London. They inhabit rocky reefs in the surf zone at depths of 1-36 meters.

Fishing permit fees increase from 1 October 2010

  • Posted on: 4 February 2010
  • By: JB
UPDATE on the proposed exorbitant fee increases. Not so bad after all: The currently gazetted prices, with effect from 1 October 2010, for fishery permits are as follows:
  • i. Scuba diving in MPA's - R85 / R42 for a four (4) week temporary permit
  • ii. West Coast rock lobster - R87
  • iii. East Coast rock lobster - R87
  • iv. Mollusks including octopus, squid, worms, other invertebrates and aquatic plants - R87 / R50 "
  • v. Mud crab - R87 / R50 "
  • vi. Marine aquarium fish - R87 / R50 "
  • vii. Angling - R69 / R45 "
  • viii. Spearfishing - R87 / R50 "
  • ix. Use of cast or throw net - R87 / R50 "
  • x. Additional fee per vessel (only payable by the skipper) for recreational fishing from such a vessel where applicable - R87 / R50 " From page 11, Government Gazette 795 , 10 September 2010
  • Warning: Permits required for Wild Coast

    This is important information if you are planning on going on holiday, day trip or fishing along the Transkei Wild Coast:

    You will need a permit to travel to cottages that are not on proclaimed or designated roads. (E.g. the road to the Jacaranda.) If you do not have a permit for these routes you may be charged by the Green Scorpions and given a spot fine of R2500.

    If you are a cottage owner and your cottage is not on a proclaimed road you will need to present your PTO (Permission To Occupy) at the Environmental office and acquire a permit to travel on the track to your cottage.

    No permits will be awarded to anyone without a valid PTO.

    Cottage owner permits are valid for one year.

    If you are traveling to a cottage that is not on a proclaimed road you will need a letter from the PTO holder which you can present at the offices to acquire a temporary permit.

    There is no charge for the permit.

    The permit is valid for one month.

    Marine Protected Areas

    The following Nature Reserves are Marine Protected Areas, and have a strictly "no fishing allowed" policy. Dwesa-Cwebe Marine Protected Area No fishing is allowed between the western bank of the mouth of the Suku River (in the District of Elliotdale) and Human’s Rock (in the district of Willowvale), including the tidal portion of the Mbashe River, extending six nautical miles seawards of the high-water mark. Hluleka Marine Protected Area No fishing is allowed adjacent to the Hluleka Nature Reserve (in the Ngqeleni District), extending six nautical miles seawards from the high-water mark. Mkambati Marine Protected Area No fishing is allowed between the eastern bank of the mouth of the Mtentu River and the western bank of the mouth of the Msikaba River, including the tidal portions of these two rivers.

    Fishing in the Eastern Cape (and Wild Coast)

    Check this great site: ... and add your fishing photos & stories there.

    Fishing the Eastern Cape is for the whole of the Eastern Cape, and people should add their fishing photos & stories from East London, Port Elizabeth, Kei Mouth, Port st Johns, Port Alfred, Kidds Beach, Mabaleni Dam or wherever you are in the EC. You can add catches from fly fishing, rock & surf, estuary angling, deep sea or whatever fishing you do.

    Licenses - Fishing Permits

    Fishing, spearfishing, boating and crayfish licenses (amongst others) are available from any Post Office in South Africa.

    Elf/Shad: 1 September -30 November
    Galjoen: 15 October -last day February
    Crayfish: 1 November - end February (bag limit is 8 crayfish per person/license.)

    East Coast Rock Lobster (Crayfish) Regulations
    1. Closed season: 1 November to the last day of February of the following year, both dates inclusive.


    Fishing The Wild Coast has long been a popular destination for sport fishermen. Shore angling from the rocky coastline rewards the angler with catches of Garrick, kob, steenbras, shad, Kingfish, galjoen and hottentot. The boat anglers fishing from surf launched ski boats have a chance at yellowtail, tuna, yellowfin, swordfish, mackerel, marlin, sailfish, barracuda, cob and queen fish. Fishing enthusiasts please see for more info. The Sardine Run