YELLOWFISH WORKING GROUP - YWG June 2019 Newsletter

Dear YWG supporter,

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bill Mincher on the 17th of June.

Dear YWG supporter,

Bill Mincher
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Bill Mincher on the 17th of June. Bill was a vice-president of FOSAF and for many years was the driving force behind the YWG. His enthusiasm and energy were largely responsible for the success of our organization and the publication of the highly acclaimed "The State of the Yellowfishes Report in South Africa 2007". Bill also devoted much of his time to the successful publication of the Nedbank Guide to Flyfishing, the Favoured Flies series and finally the FOSAF Guide to Flyfishing. A wonderful gentleman who supported and was often the organizer of many worthwhile causes. More at http://www.fosaf.org.za/read-Current-299.php

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Vanderkloof Dam
In the May newsletter - http://www.fosaf.org.za/read-YWG-143.php we issued a statement on the experimental small scale fishery project on this water. As additional information has been received on this matter we will be reviewing this statement in the next month.

Vaal Crisis by Chris Williams
The mid -Vaal River and environs clean-up and sewage/waste water treatment repairs/rehabilitation have regressed since the SANDF's funding has dried up so they are presently unable to continue their good work. It has got so bad that the Emfuleni Local Municipality have even had to relocate their Vanderbijlpark offices from the OK Building as the latter is flooded by raw sewage. Blue green algae in particular is rife in the river in what in the past has been a relatively 'quiet' time of year with no flushes of contaminated rain water entering the tributaries and main river. However, raw sewage and waste water is still entering the river from the usual Rietspruit and Kliprivier hot spots as well as from other tributaries. Reports from Parys and downstream indicate a worsening of algae. On the Free State side the provincial governments and municipalities are spending most of their time trying to 'develop' the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site into coal and gold mines, no doubt at great ongoing financial benefit to the head honchos in charge at both provincial and municipal levels. Limited success has been had in curbing some of the illegal fish sales and netting also in reducing wilful pollution into the Vaal such as abattoir waste especially in the Rietspruit.

Our largemouth yellowfish from all reports seem to be in less abundance this season in the mid Vaal area and this is probably a direct result of a lethal combination of pollution and illegal fishing practices. The outlook currently seems bleak as there is not sufficient unpilfered funding to build new or rehabilitate old sewage/waste water treatment plants and pump stations. However, the environmental message via education is starting to filter into the local communities with good results and several youngsters and more seasoned bait fishers are being swayed to fly fishing via our recommenced programmes.

River Rehabilitation
On a more positive note, local communities are starting to sit up and take note of the pollution and plight of many rivers in the Vaal and Crocodile river areas. Many worthwhile projects, awareness/education programmes and clean-ups by the general public (including fly fishers) have taken place in the Hennops, Rietspruit, Kliprivier, Crocodile, Jukskei, Sandspruit and other rivers/streams. Nationally great work is similarly being done by fly fishers and the public in our other provinces and catchment areas. This should all be driven by our government and municipalities. We are working on eliciting support from the new Minister Creecy and Deputy Minister Sotyu of the newly-merged Environment, Forestries and Fisheries. We will keep you posted on developments.

2nd Draft of the Natural Freshwater Wild Capture Fisheries Policy For South Africa
Previously known at the National Inland Fisheries Policy, this is doing the national rounds at various venues including at the Sedibeng offices, Vanderbijlpark on 28th June 1000 hours where FOSAF NR/YWG members will be in attendance. A full objectively researched run-down on this major national issue will be given by FOSAF National/YWG in the near future.

SAVE - Save the Vaal Environment AGM 22nd June 1000h
Venue - Lapa, Luciana Country Estate, Vaal River Road, Vaal Barrage. See Luciana Country estate website for map. All public welcome, please make an effort to be there if you are a Vaal River or Gauteng/Free State fly fisher, your support is much needed! Also, please diarise SAVE will have their annual River Festival near Vanderbijlpark on the Vaal Saturday 12th October. Great fun for all the family including beer, wine and whisky tasting for adult fly fishers!

Regards,
Peter & Chris

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