FOSAF NEWS - Minutes of a meeting to discuss issues pertaining to yellowfish in Sterkfontein Dam.
On 19/07/2012 Leon Barkhuizen of the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs (DETEA) convened a meeting to discuss the conservation and protection of yellowfish in this important fly fishing venue. The meeting was attended by DETEA officials, guides, outfitters, anglers, a fishing magazine and the SAPS.
Among the problems and threats identified initially were:
- Fluctuating water levels during the spawning season.
- Poaching of breeding fish in the feeder streams.
- The growing threat and the long term effect of bass.
- Threat of transfer of grass carp from the Tugela storage dams.
- Commercial harvesting of yellowfish.
- Disruption of spawning fish by walking on banks and through spawning beds.
- Bait anglers unaware of threats to yellowfish and correct methods of handing them.
- Lack of policing by DETEA.
- Angling competitions.
Regarding (1) Leon Barkhuizen will follow up with Eskom to make them aware of the threat to spawning beds. The DETEA expect to increase their policing to combat threats such as (2) and (4) while SAPS will also patrol. The DETEA will also discuss the presence of grass carp in the Tugela system with KZN aquatic scientists to determine the threat of translocation through the pump storage scheme. In addition cooperation is required from stakeholders in informing the DETEA of illegal activity and also to help write articles in the angling media while Leon Barkhuizen will prepare an information pamphlet and boards. This will include the necessity of killing all bass. Disruption of spawners is probably less of a problem than originally suggested but anglers need to be educated. After a lengthy discussion it was agreed that the current competitions and festivals (refer 9) were not a problem, but in future organisers will have to apply for the necessary permit. The meeting was also informed that the new Free State NatureConservation Bill and regulations will probably be promulgated in September this year.
The complete Minutes of the meeting may be viewed at http://www.fosaf.co.za/documents/Minutes_yellowfish_Sterkfontein_July_2012.pdf and a follow-up meeting will be held, probably on 16/08/2012, at the provincial resort at Sterkfontein.
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