YELLOWFISH WORKING GROUP - YWG July 2019 newsletter

 Dear YWG supporter,

 

Vanderkloof Dam

Regarding our statement in the May newsletter at http://www.fosaf.org.za/read-YWG-143.php Dr Leonard Flemming of FOSAF Western Cape is still busy reviewing the information available on gill netting. Once the review is complete and discussed, FOSAF will update this statement. However, all the data seen to date would confirm that the uncontrolled use of this manner of harvesting fish has caused considerable damage to fish populations around the world and cannot be considered an acceptable method of netting in South Africa.

In addition, Bernard Venter of Eco Care Trust reported on the damage done by gillnetting in the dams of North West province in 14 July Sunday night Carte Blanche programme. Similar concerns are reported elsewhere across the country.

The Mabola Protected Environment.

This protected area in Mpumalanga is an important catchment area for the Vaal and Phongola rivers. In Nov. 2018 the Pretoria High Court set aside and with punitive costs the 2016 decisions of DMR Minister Zwane and late DEA Minister Molewa to permit coal mining by Atha Africa in this protected area. In Jan 2019 the High Court refused Atha the right to appeal and awarded costs in favour of the coalition of environmental NGO’s. As the mining company was still not satisfied they petitioned the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal asking her to reconsider the SCA’s April decision to enable Atha to appeal the High Court judgement. This petition has now been refused, again with costs.
We trust that this finalizes the matter which has tested the resources of the environmental NGO’s to the limit.

The WPB Colliery in Belfast.

As has been reported before this illegal open cast mine at the head of the Elands River poses a major threat to the unique population of smallscale yellows from Waterval Onder downstream. The situation has arisen due to failure of the authorities including the DMR, DWS and SAPS to act on the evidence presented to them. However, the various bodies opposing this mine are not prepared to give up and with funding provided mainly from neighbouring flyfishing venues, FOSAF and the Northern Trout Association they plan to halt this illegal mine and ensure that comprehensive rehabilitation is undertaken.

The Vaal Crisis by Chris Williams

The raw sewage and waste water pollution in mid-Vaal continues unabated with blue-green algae, green algae and E.coli counts remaining at unacceptable levels even in this dry weather period. The valiant ‘Vaal Army’ continue to have their hands tied behind their backs as the R341 million promised and allocated by the previous DWS Minister Nkwinti has STILL not been released for funding there and other sanctioned clean-up operations. The new DWS Minister Sisulu has given absolutely no indication of when this critically-needed funding will be released nor any reasons for the totally unnecessary delay. Where is the R341 million? Why is there at least three months’ of non-payment since it was scheduled for immediate ‘Vaal Army’ funding?

There are also new raw sewage leaks spilling into the Vaal at Riverspray/NWU Vanderbijlpark. Emfuleni Local Municipality have been consistent and have done nothing whatsoever to rectify this. TV, radio and other media have also been focusing on the dire Vaal River sewage pollution at Standerton, further upstream on the Vaal.

Heartening news is the increasing emergence of fellow action groups also doing their bit with river clean-ups on streams such as the Jukskei, Hennops, Apies and Crocodile. Mandela Day proved an appropriate stage for many selfless clean-ups and programmes in the Northern Region area. FOSAF/YWG members were present at several of the clean-ups doing the right stuff on all our behalves.

The Draft National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy

The 2nd Draft of this policy is up for discussion in Pretoria this Thursday and in Vereeniging this Friday. Ilan Lax will attend the Pretoria meeting and FOSAF NR members will attend the Vereeniging meeting. This matter will be discussed in full by FOSAF/YWG elsewhere. media.

FOSAF Northern Region 2019 AGM

Starts at 10am on Saturday 27th July at the Higher Ground conference Centre, St Stithians College, Randburg.

Kind regards,

Peter

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