The iSimagaliso Wetland Park Integrated Management Plan (2022-2031) is available for comment until 31 October 2020. This IMP incorporates aspects relating to the St Lucia system, which apart from being of Global significance in terms of biodiversity, is of concern to the recreational angling sector (fishers and associated industries). Download the document from the iSimangaliso website (see below) and register as an IAP if you want to become involved (https://isimangaliso.com/all-downloads/integrated-management-plans/). Make sure you also download the Background Information Document (on the same page) as this will allow you to register and submit comments.
Vanderkloof update – 25 August 2020
The TV program Carte Blanche is scheduled to broadcast a documentary about the Vanderkloof experimental fishery on Sunday (30 August 2020). In the weeks leading up to this, the producer of the documentary has approached the members of Rhodes University involved with the project with a series of questions as well as allegations of wrong doing. The members of staff from Rhodes have responded to the questions and have also refuted the allegations as baseless and vindictive. At this stage it is uncertain whether their responses will be included in the program. Due to the concern that all the facts may not be aired, and viewers could get the wrong impression, we have been requested to post the responses from Rhodes staff on this site. If you intend watching the program on Sunday, we suggest you read the documents below and then reach your own conclusions once you have all the facts.
Latest Linefish Research
The proceedings of the 5th South African Marine Linefish Symposium held in July 2019 is now available. Use the following link to download and read about the latest in linefish research: https://zenodo.org/record/3959750/files/Proceedings%20of%20the%205th%20SAMLS_FINAL.pdf?download=1
INLAND FISHERIES POLICY
The much awaited Draft Inland Fishery Policy was released by DAFF in June 2018. SACRAA’s submissions to DAFF in response to the Draft Policy can be viewed here. After a series of public consultations last year DAFF has now released the 2nd Draft of the policy, now renamed the National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy for South Africa. SACRAA is disappointed that DAFF has chosen to ignore all the comments submitted on the 1st Draft and has not received any communication from DAFF in this regard. DAFF has stated they wish to engage with us and “walk this road” together, but there actions appear to prove otherwise. This has been highlighted in our submissions to DAFF on the 2nd Draft (see here) and we hope that they will give our submissions the attention they deserve.
After several groups approached DAFF with similar misgivings with regards their lack of communication, the Department convened a roundtable discussion, which was held on 25 July 2019. In addition to our presence, other recreational and small-scale sector representatives and small-scale sector role players were present. DAFF has undertaken to provide a “comments & response” report emanating from the first two policy drafts, which may allow us to make additional, more informed submissions. In addition, there was a unanimous request that the 3rd draft of the policy be circulated for review/comment, something that is currently not scheduled by DAFF. It is clear that the chasm between recreational and small-scale users is wide, and given that equal access to the resource is the only way forward, we have a responsibility to work with all role players towards a common goal, namely sustainable use to support livelihoods, whether they be defined by small-scale or recreational aspirations.
For more background on this issue please go to the Inland Fisheries Policy page under Projects.
Latest from Vanderkloof
17 January 2020 – the provincial exemption was finally re-issued towards the end of last year and some fishing took place in early December; this was suspended over the peak holiday season and is projected to re-start soon. After nearly a year of no fishing activity it remains to be seen how this project will progress as two-years worth of data is required in accordance with the FMP in order to make an informed decision on the way forward.
24 April 2019 – fishing operations in the experimental dam fishery have been suspended for a while now while Rhodes waits for the re-issuing of a provincial exemption as well as clearance from the Rhodes University Ethical Standards Committee. The Records of Decision (RoDs) from the AG meeting held on 23 April can be viewed on the Kraal Fishery page under the Projects sub-menu.
6 March 2019 – The latest report on the Vanderkloof Dam Fishery can be viewed here. The report provides a summary of catches from August 2018 to mid-February 2019 and contains information on numbers, weight and catch by gear-type.
3 December 2018 – There has been some reaction recently on social media about the activities on Vanderkloof Dam. An experimental fishery is underway to firstly determine the sustainability of fish stocks using a variety of fishing methods, and secondly to determine the economic viability of a small-scale commercial fishery. A summary of the process that has been followed to date as well as some catch data can be viewed here. The minutes of the most recent AG meeting held on 29 November 2018 can be viewed on the Kraal Fishery page.
SACRAA endorses the WWF-SA’s CatchReport Initiative, which forms part of their FishforLife Project. CatchReport is an exercise in collective value creation which will contribute to improved knowledge of recreational angling catches. Through this portal every fish caught by recreational anglers can be recorded. You are encouraged to register and log your catches on their web site to build an online profile of your fishing activities, and by doing so, become an active citizen scientist.
Economic importance of recreational angling
A multi-disciplinary study by researchers from Rhodes, Cape Town and North-West Universities, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) and the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) on the economic impact of the recreational fishery in South Africa, which was recently commissioned by the South African Consolidated Recreational Angling Association (SACRAA) has revealed that in 2017 total spending by an estimated 1.3 million recreational anglers contributed R26.5 billion to the economy. The industry also supported 94 000 employment opportunities. The study was funded by the South African Fishing Tackle Agents and Distributors (SAFTAD). See here for the full report. For additional information please go to the Economic Survey page under Projects.
ORI TAGGING PROJECT
If anyone is interested in learning about the Oceanographic Research Institute’s (ORI) Cooperative Fish Tagging Project which has been running since 1984 or if you have ever caught a tagged fish and would like to find out more about it please contact Gareth Jordaan at ORI (contact details can be found at http://www.seaworld.org.za/ori).