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Overview of Sea Invertebrates

  • Aretha Rae Boezak

Most Southern African fisherman will depend on marine invertebrates to lure fish to be able to capture them. These baits are occasionally also used commercially. Some varieties of invertebrates tend to be quite popular baits, whereas others wouldn't even be considered.

The use of these organisms as angling bait can have its pro's and con's. By far the most successful baits have been exploited, especially the ones that are more lucrative as a live bait. The success of the baits may be because of this of a substance or a aroma that most seafood are attracted to. Also, they are quite meaty.

Marine invertebrates are some of the most fascinating organisms on the planet earth. They are found in a variety of locations which is of extreme ecological importance to many marine organisms. It has been found that a multitude of organisms feed on these invertebrates, as they are quite nutrient abundant. Marine invertebrates are categorized into 12 different phyla. These include: Porifera, Cnidaria, Ctenophora, Platyhelminthes, Nemertea, Nematoda, Rotifera, Annelida, Molluscs, Arthropoda and Echinodermata.

Some popular invertebrates that are not marine are spikes (also called maggots), meal worms and polish worms. Spikes are th e larvae of some take a flight species, whereas food worms will be the larvae of the darkling beetle types and wax worms, that of moth or bee moths.

The phyla Nematoda, Annelida and Molluscs are the most popular invertebrate baits. The rest are not as popular as angling baits. The reason behind this may be as a result of defensive traits or possessions that those microorganisms have. Some of these include Cnidarians.

Cnidarians mainly use chemicals as a defensive feature. Some contain dreadful neurotoxins that may be fatal to both man and animal.

Though some seafood species that prey on these organisms are consumed by mankind, it could seem a little too dangerous to use them as bait. Some are in the same way dangerous inactive or alive. The challenge isn't the bait itself or fish that could be spoiled, it's the handling of the organism. Considering that some fisherman are uneducated or do not follow in the threat of handling these microorganisms.

In South Africa invertebrates like mussels, lug worms and dirt prawns are among the famous baits for both fishermen and commercial fisherman. Commercially, mostly vertebrates are used as bait depending on type of seafood that are captured. Pelagic fishes like hake and common fish in the Cape, like Kabeljou/kobs, can be lured with invertebrates as bait.

Annelids like lug worms are also widely used for bait. Lug worms belong to the course Polychaeta and are found in rocky shores. Lugworms are in sand mixtures where it forms a U-shaped burrow. Also, they are called burrowers and are great when angling for Kabeljou, Spotted gunter, White- and Red stumpnose, Dageraad, Yellowbelly Rockcod, Slinger, White steenbras, Hottentot and Bronze.

Another is the free swimming Polychaet, Alitta succinea, commonly known as Rag worms (also called the pile worm or clam worm). Rag worms are a marine annelid that is one of the family Nereididae. They can be found on the bottom level of shallow marine waters. These worms are an important nutrient source for crustaceans and bottom-feeding seafood.

Arenicola loveni, commonly known is the blood worm. These belong to the family Arenicolidae. Though they are simply endemic to South Africa, blood worms is an exemplory case of an over exploited bait. They are found in estuaries, where they dig profound, u-shaped burrows with one end forming a funnelled depressive disorder. Regarding to Branch et al. (2010: 70) "water is attracted through the pipe, oxygenating the sediment and stimulating bacterial growth. " Their name was derived from the fact they have haemoglobin present in their bloodstream, therefore when broken, they bleed red bloodstream.

The assortment of Pseudoneires variegata, often called the mussel worm is also used as bait, but it's collection destroys large areas of mussel bed.

The Wonder-worm (Eunice aphroditois) and the estuarine surprise- worm (Marphysa elitueni) are also between those used as bait. However, the bite of the wonder-worm can inflict pain as it is carnivorous and has large jaws. Both these worms gravel under boulders, however the estuarine wonder-worm also burrows in sandbanks.

There are a number of molluscs that fish find palatable. Molluscs work specifically well when fishing for snoek, natal stumpnose and the most common fish in the Cape shoreline, Galjoen. The one problem with molluscs is the likelihood of destroying bedrooms, which destroys the habitat of other microorganisms as well.

Mussels are the most frequent owned by the school Bivalves. Branch et al. (2010:146): "As the name indicates, bivalves are enclosed by a pair of shell valves, hinged mutually along the trunk by an flexible ligament and stretching down on either area of the body. " Mussels are a good bait to utilize when angling in rocky shores.

Fulvia papyracea, often called pencil bait, also known as Razor shells, make huge bait. They burrow themselves deeply in clean, strong sand of lagoons and estuaries. Cephalopods like squid are also used as bait.

There are also a few famous crustaceans in the bait community. Included in these are crabs, shrimp and prawns.

Most anglers also use dirt prawns, Upogebia Africana, as bait. They are one of South Africa's few macro benthic invertebrates. Being quite definitely exploited, dirt prawns are found all the way form Lamberts Bay in the Western world seacoast to Maputo in Mozambique. They are limited to circulation because of this of temperature tolerances. These kinds are only found in estuaries that are linked to the ocean or at least subjected to the ocean in most of the time.

Ecologically, the mud prawn is quite of importance in the estuarine ecosystem. That is consequently of the burrowing and filtration feeding. The exploitation of the organisms can result in severe eutrophication of the estuarine, due to diverse results on micro algae and bacteria.

There are regulations concerning the gathering of the invertebrate organisms compiled as bait in South Arica. With regards to angling, these baits are shielded by limits on number, size and method and by licenses in KwaZulu-Natal. The quantity each day for bait organisms are:

Black mussel 25 ;Bloodworm 5; clam 8; limpet 15; dirt crab(giant) 2; other crabs 15; octopus 2; oyster 25; periwinkle 50; polychaete worms 10; prawn(dirt and sand) 50; pencil bait 20.

Instruments with a blade width of 38mm or less enable you to remove limpets or dark-colored mussels and polychaetes may only be dug by hand.

Given the vast majority of invertebrates are marine; they could be used for fresh water angling as well. Fresh water invertebrates may also be used for marine sportfishing.

In South Africa marine invertebrates have proven to be the best angling bait for anglers, as some varieties can be used for all sorts of sportfishing. However, by using them as bait they are occasionally exploited and can have severe results on a complete ecosystem.


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