YELLOWFISH WORKING GROUP - YWG August 2019 Newsletter

 Dear YWG supporter,

 

 

 

National Freshwater (Inland) Fisheries Policy

FOSAF and the YWG are aware of and engaged in discussions with a range of interested and affected parties on the latest version of what is now called the National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy. 

Be assured that we are carefully analysing this draft policy and have been engaged at a stakeholders’ round table in Pretoria around some of the implications.  We are preparing a submission on this policy and will highlight the positives and negatives it poses.  We are also conducting research into netting that can inform our submission. 

We note the various recent comments from some stakeholders and commentators on social media about this matter.  We are very concerned at the divisions that are emerging and being regrettably promoted in the sector.  We do not believe that a confrontational approach will help with finding workable solutions to what are difficult questions around access and control of public freshwater fishery resources.  We will continue to engage all stakeholders in a constructive manner so that principled and practical approaches can inform equitable and sustainable solutions for our public freshwater fisheries.

 

The Vaal Crisis by Chris Williams

Metsimahalo (Sereti Resources) and Panfontein (Mr. S. Chetty) are both applying to obtain their ‘soft’ EIA’s for open pit coal mine licences on the Vaal River between the Vaal Dam and Three Rivers area. Suffice to say, acid mine drainage and metals/toxic pollution from these mines would further ruin our fish, fly fishing, local communities and environment.

The river floor of the low and slow-moving Vaal River, and her tributaries such as the Rietspruit, is choked with toxic stinking black sludge and blocked methane gas. This is raw sewage, blood, medical waste, chemicals, metals, plastic and other toxic substances sinking to, condensing and stagnating on and in the bottom. This is a safe haven for E. coli, cyanobacteria and other poisonous algae and bacteria. This is not reflected in any governmental river quality information. Our first rains will simply awake this slumbering monster plus all the land-based waste and pollution which will again wash into the Vaal whilst the municipal and governmental authorities’ sole activity remains theft and corruption.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality who are responsible for the area have looted and rechannelled over one billion Rand allocated to them for repairs, rehabilitation and building. They and the Department of Water and Sanitation and Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries continue to duck and dive and do nothing whilst the Vaal River rots. FOSAF/YWG have been working in the Save The Vaal Environment team who have court orders granted to them against the ELM and the ELM municipal Manager. In addition, SAVE have court orders granted against the Ministers of Finance, of Water and Sanitation and of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The parties in these court orders must respond latest 31 August 2019. FOSAF/YWG are do-ers not talkers. Watch this space!

 

News from the Western Cape

First a note from Leonard Flemming:

There was still some indigenous cyprinid fishing to be had until mid-July this year, but since we've had much rain and even some snow and rivers have been icy, raging torrents flooding the fynbos banks and fishing has been very unproductive. While not much has been happening on the fishing front in the cold, a fairly new science project, “Saving Sandfish”, to protect the endangered Clanwilliam sandfish (Labeo seeberi) is underway; the project, initiated by Dr. Bruce Paxton and Dr. Jeremy Shelton from the Freshwater Research Centre (http://frcsa.org.za/) received funding and good interest from several stakeholders and interested and affected parties and its focus will be to locate, study and conserve breeding sandfish populations in the greater Doring River catchment area and its main, lowland tributaries. If some of the practical aims are achieved in this exciting project, it will to some extent also conserve several breeding populations of Clanwilliam yellowfish, sawfin and some indigenous minnow species. For more information about this project and to get involved, please contact Jeremy Shelton: jeremy@frcsa.org.za

And then a short note from Dean Impson of Cape Nature:

The completed and successful Rondegat project is now the responsibility of the Reserve Manager for the Cederberg, the Freshwater Ecologist (Jeanne Gouws, monitoring) and the Fauna Ecologist (Martine Jordaan, monitoring).

The Krom, Biedouw and Breekkrans projects (all Cederberg) are being implemented from 2017-2021. They are the responsibility of Ben van Staden (manager of fauna and flora projects of operational rehabilitation projects). I will be involved in terms of scientific guidance.

 

Kind regards,

Peter

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