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Dr Serge Raemaekers


Room 2.21

Tel: 0216502879







I joined the EGS Dept at the University of Cape Town in April 2009, after having completed my PhD at Rhodes University where I analysed the governance approaches to the high-value abalone and lobster fisheries in the Eastern Cape Province.  I have a natural science background with an MSc degree in bioscience engineering from the University of Ghent (Belgium, 2003), but I have gained expertise in inter-disciplinary research on understanding and assessing livelihoods and fishing practices, and while undertaking participatory ecological and socio-economic research with local rural communities. Since 2007, I have been contributing my research findings and ideas to the South African small-scale fisheries policy development and implementation process. My research work engages with systems thinking and fisheries governance practice with the aim to recommend governance models and management approaches that are more applicable to small-scale fishers ‘realities. I also have considerable consulting and training expertise in the field of small-scale fisheries. My interests are small-scale fisheries governance, co-management, fisheries information systems, socio-economic research and community participation. I work closely with fishworkers and fisher leaders along the coast.  Most of my work is centered on social learning processes with local small-scale fishers, with the aim to ensure that the communities’ knowledge; needs and vision are adequately captured and incorporated in any planning and decision-making processes.

Raemaekers, S. and Britz, P.J. 2009. Profile of the illegal abalone (Haliotis midae) fishery in the Eastern Cape, South Africa: organised pillage and management failure. Fisheries Research 97; 183-195

Raemaekers, S., Hauck, M., Bürgener, M., Plaganyi, E., Maharaj, G. and Mackenzie, A., Britz, P.J. 2011. Review of the causes of the rise of the illegal South African abalone fishery and consequent closure of the rights-based fishery. Ocean & Coastal Management 54: 433-445. 

M Sowman, D Scott, L Green, M Hara, M Hauck, K Kirsten, B Paterson, S Raemaekers, K Scott, J Sunde, J Turpie. In Press. Shallow waters: social science research in the marine environment. African Journal of Marine Science. 

Raemaekers, S and Brill, G. 2014. A decade of illegal fishing in Table Mountain National Park (2000 - 2009): Trends in the illicit harvest of abalone (Haliotis midae) and West Coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii). African Journal of Marince Science.

Sowman, M., Sunde, J., Raemaekers, S., Schultz, O. 2014. Fishing for equality: Policy for poverty alleviation for South Africa’s small-scale fisheries. Marine Policy.

Currently Funded Research Projects project manager and research project leader; See more on


Areas of potential post graduate research supervision

Illegal fisheries, Small-scale fisheries governance, Socio-economic research, GIS, marine spatial planning

Some possible project themes are listed below but I am very open to other ideas too


Honours Level:

  • Use of mobile applications in fisheries value chains: market opportunities and traceability

  • Use of technology to enhance safety at sea for small-scale fishers

  • Use of mobile applications in recreational fisheries sector: opportunities for stewardship


Masters Level:

  • Local knowledge of inshore marine resources and resilience in the face of environmental change

  • Socio-economic profile of the traditional line-fishery

  • Marine Spatial Planning and the small-scale fisheries policy

  • Analysis of long-term data for the east coast rock lobster fishery

  • Value adding in the Lambertsbaai small-scale fishery

  • Socio-economic profile of the abalone commercial fishery

  • Conflict and overlap between the small-scale and recreational fisheries