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.
West Coast Rock Lobster
WCRL TAE and TAC REDUCED FOR 2018/19 SEASON.
On 2 November 2018 DAFF issued the Total Allowable Catch and Effort (TAC/TAE) for the 2018/19 WCRL season. Last season we were able to maintain the catch and effort at levels the same as the previous season. However, the WCRL stock is severely depleted due mostly to illegal fishing or poaching which accounts for more than the legal catch in the commercial, recreational and small-scale sectors combined. As a result, DAFF has reduced the catch and effort for all sectors this season in an effort to start rebuilding the stock.
The recreational sector has been allocated a TAC of 38.76 tons (56% of last season’s catch) and a TAE of 12 days (down from 21 days) spread out between 15 December 2018 (when the season opens) and 21 April 2019 which marks the end of the season. Both offshore and nearshore commercial quotas have been reduced by more than 50% for the season. The overall quota for all sectors is 1 084 tons, which is down 56% from the TAC last season.
While we acknowledge the need to reduce catch and effort to help rebuild the stock we wait and see whether DAFF have the will to fulfill their mandate by enforcing compliance and combating the poaching scourge that has affected us all.
Please take note of the allocated diving days in the DAFF statement. Happy diving.
A call to action was recently drafted by Dr Anthony Turnton from the University of Free State’s Centre for Environmental Management. The article highlights the inadequacies of government with regards the management and allocation of our water resources. In short our water resources have been over-allocated such that we now have a situation where South Africa has a water constrained economy. In addition, the waters in most of our rivers and dams has become polluted by, among other things, sewage and acid mine drainage. This is apparently due to a misinterpretation of Chapter 3 of The Constitution, which deals with Cooperative Governance, and which the government chooses to interpret in such a way as to make intervention at the local/provincial by the national executive near to impossible. Dr Turnton proposes that a strategy be developed and funded in order to hold those in power to account. Read the article (South Africa officially is a water constrained economy) here and become involved.
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.
JANUARY 2018 NEWSLETTER
Click here for a copy of our January 2018 newsletter, where you will find details of the planned Bosberaad, the Economic Impact Assessment Study and the latest from the planned fisheries at Vanderkloof Dam.
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 1984or 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).