There has been a great deal of misinformation in the media recently regarding the role of FOSAF/YWG (Yellowfish Working Group) in the Vanderkloof Small-scale Experimental Fishery Project. We’d like to set the record straight. Here are the facts:


  • The project required a range of exemptions and permits from national and provincial departments dealing with endangered species, fisheries issues and related activities.
  • FOSAF/YWG knew that the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) at Rhodes University had received exemptions and permits for this project.
  • FOSAF/YWG was not involved at all in obtaining the permits or exemptions for the project.
  • FOSAF/YWG knew that there had been some opposition and that an advisory group was formed, which included all affected stakeholders.
  • FOSAF/YWG was not a part of the advisory group, because we simply did not have sufficient resources to get involved at that time. 
  • The advisory group approved the management plan for the project, not FOSAF/YWG.
  • South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA), a member of the advisory group, periodically kept FOSAF/YWG informed about the project.
  • It emerged later that gill-netting was among the exempted and permitted project harvesting methodologies.
  • FOSAF/YWG strongly opposes the use of gill nets for the capture of any species of fish either for research purposes or as a harvesting method.
  • The purpose of the advisory group is to ensure that the project complies with its management plan.
  • In the light of information that has now emerged it would appear that the project did not fully comply with the management plan.
  • Following a range of allegations reported to higher authorities at Rhodes University, the project was suspended in late March, pending further investigation.
  • The exemptions and permits have now expired.
  • FOSAF/YWG have been informed in the last few days that the project did not have ethical clearance and has been terminated.

FOSAF/YWG will continue to monitor and provide input going forward. Should there be a new application for this project, FOSAF/YWG will continue to support lawful and ethical research however we will NOT support gillnetting.

Ilan Lax

National Chairman


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