Commercial Fish of South Africa

© Ann Gadd
Yellowfin Tuna is a commercially caught fish in South Africa.

The commercial fish of South Africa are fair and few, with an extensive but demanding fish industry that totals 150 million kilograms of fish caught annually. The South African fishing industry relies on a select number of fish species that consumers know and trust, such as tuna, kingklip and hake. Furthermore, both small-scale and large commercial fishing enterprises are restricted by regulations that protect the marine life of South Africa against over-usage and exploitation.

Most of the marine commercial fish of South Africa are caught by deep-sea trawlers, as well as small-scale longline and handline fisheries, with over 94% caught in the Western Cape. The deep-sea trawling industry focuses on catching only a small number of fish species that are commercially viable and found along the coastline of South Africa. These species are an important part of the livelihood and nutrition sources of South Africans, and are further expanded upon on's Marine Guide.


The body of the galjoen is somewhat square-shaped. It head is big with tiny mouth and incisor-like teeth, and its tail shortened. Its fins have prominent spines....more


Grunts have large heads and torsos which narrow towards a short tail. They are characterised by their big lips. They vary in colour from a silverfish-grey to yellow with blue lines....more


Kingfish are a part of the Carangidae family which comprises of 33 genera and 140 species. They can be found in big schools and travel great distances....more


Clinidae family consists of 20 genera and 73 species. They have whisker-like structures (cirri) on different parts of their heads. Scales not visible....more


Tuna belongs to the Scombridae family which comprises of 15 genera and 51 species. They can be found in large schools at times. Tuna are able to keep their body temperature...more