+27 42 294 1615 info@chokkablock.co.za

Our Story

A Cosy Restaurant Overlooking The Only Privately Owned Harbour In South Africa.

Clive started his career of as a chef & comes from a family background of Chef’s. Clive has also been in the Seafood industry for 25 years, travelling extensively around the world, sourcing & procuring seafood for retailers/wet products for retailers around the world.

This knowledge has assisted us to only buy in the best products for our guests. We have perfected the cooking of the local calamari, to such an extent that we offer a calamari tasting & wet demo of the local Chokka industry.

We offer Seafood, Grills & Continental dishes & our specials change on a daily basis, depending on what fresh products are available. Our line fish is sourced daily & is prepared in a way no other Restaurants can beat.

Our Story

Background info on Squid Fishery

Chokka Block Restaurant

The effort on the resource has been controlled by a restriction on the number of permits which were issued in 1987. There has been an increase in effort as fishing techniques have been perfected and this has concerned the industry and the scientists within the department.


Between 1980 and 1985 a number of local line fisherman operating between Plettenberg Bay and Port Alfred discovered that they could catch reasonable quantities of the squid species (Loligo Vulgaris Reynauldi). By 1987 fisherman who were catching this resource and submitting returns to the department were issued with Squid permits (C permits). The scientists, members in the industry and the then Minister of Environment Affairs became concerned about the resource as boats from all corners of the coastline converged on the coastal villages in the Eastern Cape. After careful assessment of the stock the scientists and the department declared this industry closed and no further permits were issued.

Since then the catches have fluctuated from 2 000 tons to 10 000 tons and due to the tremendous variations in the yearly catches and large fluctuations in prices the industry has the reputation of being the most unstable fishery. This has resulted in a tremendous and ever-changing participant in the industry as people and companies sold out of the industry and others bought in. The dynamics of the industry has resulted in a huge diversity of companies involved in this fishery. In 1997, 207 boats were owned by 159 companies.


The industry has developed from ski boats and ice vessels which offloaded their product into land-based factories to freezer catcher vessels. This development was forced on the industry as a result of the quality standards which were being imposed by the NRCS and the EUROPEAN UNION. This has resulted in the cost of entering this industry escalating from +/-R100 000.00 for a ski boat to over R4 000 000.00 for a small freezer vessel and over R15 000 000.00 for a larger freezer vessel.


The fishing is done by means of a hand line and each fish is individually caught by a fisherman who can operate up to three lines at one time. Fishing lights are used to aggregate the fish around the boat at night. These lights are more effective during the winter months when fishing is in the deeper water. Other fishing methods have been banned in order to preserve the resource. The freezer vessels stay out for up to 21 days at a time before returning to replenish supplies and offloading product.

This is a very labour intensive fishery, but the seasonality of the industry means that boats, crews and factories are only employed effectively for 5 months of the year.


This industry is a new and recent development in our country and is free from the hype of traditional and subsistence fisheries which exists in other sectors. This fishery developed in an area in the Eastern Cape where little other fishery resources are available for exploitation by small operators. Squid was prior to 1985 seen merely as bait.

Due to the shortage of fisherman in the area and many of the local inhabitants being afraid of the sea, Fisherman moved into areas in the Eastern Cape where they have now been accepted as part of the community.


Our species of squid is second only in perceived quality to the squid in Morocco and Mauritania. It is particularly sought after in the Far Eastern and Mediterranean markets. A peculiarity of the fishery is that the buyers prefer to purchase the whole fish. In fact, processing the fish more than halves its value to the end buyers who have their own way of preparing and cooking it. Optimal prices are therefore achieved on the export markets.

Our local market demands the much cheaper squid (one fifth of the cost) which is most acceptable to local restaurant go-errs. Prices for fish peak when catches are poor and tumble when catches are good. An interesting feature of the industry is that the effects of the El Nino effects many of the squid fisheries around the world simultaneously. This results in a world-wide squid feast or famine.


Squid aggregate and spawn mainly during the summer months between October and January. There is a closed season for the month of November. Ongoing effective research is conducted by the Sea Fisheries scientists funded both by the Department of Sea Fisheries and Sasmia. Interesting studies on biological aspects and effects of environmental conditions are providing us with deeper insights into this resource.

Effort control in the form of boat or participant restriction has been deemed to be the most efficient method of controlling and protecting the resource.

Chokka Block Restaurant

Port St Francis is a privately owned working harbour and home to over 30 commercial chokka, hake and pilchard fishing boats, a recreational harbour with smaller deep sea fishing boats and yachts, as well as a residential area.

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