FOSAF CHAIRMAN'S 2015/16 ANNUAL REPORT
In early February 2016, FOSAF, TroutSA and the DGs (and their support teams) met to discuss our concerns. The meeting confirmed that the Phakisa win-win forms the basis of the way forward and that the MINMEC endorsed this approach. Provinces have thus been consulted and need to come on board. The next steps are to finalise the mapping process as soon as possible and at the same time to harmonise the legislation (national and provincial) to facilitate the agreed enabling environment for the trout value chain.
FOSAF welcomes the support the DG's have shown for the Phakisa win-win and believes these indications of good faith are important for re-building trust between the roles players. We are grateful for this support and commit ourselves to working with the departments to implement the reasonable and practical way forward to create an enabling environment.
It is important to note that FOSAF has been successful (particularly in my view) because we have stuck to our fundamental principles and policies. This is borne out by the fact that government takes us seriously. As with all policy and legislation the devil is in the detail. We will remain vigilant but positive and will continue to keep you all posted on future developments.
That we need to broaden our support both in terms of youth, gender and race is self-evident, the difficult question is how to achieve this. Members' participation is crucial. All suggestions would be welcomed and some exciting proposals have been made in this regard that will receive consideration.
FOSAF is an active member of Trout SA. In my view this must continue. TSA is working in all the regions to align the goals and needs of the value chain in a symbiotic relationship with DAFF.
COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING
Thanks are also due to:
FOSAF remains an extremely effective organisation. We manage to achieve a great deal despite being relatively small on numbers. When I had a brief look at our strategic objectives and our policy and principles documents (which were prepared and adopted in 2003) I was struck by how relevant they remain to what we have been doing. We will again review them at this EXCO.
I remain concerned that despite how much we do and the publicity we have received our membership has continued to drop. While new people are joining and many others have supported our NEMBA work both financially and by spreading the word all of which is heartening, there are still those who feel we do not do enough or who feel FOSAF is not worthy of support. How we build our brand and find support is the critical challenge for us in the year ahead. Social media and the internet appear to be the place where many younger anglers and other people engage. Going forward our presence on these platforms is vital. Finding people who can assist with this task on a regular basis is a must for us in the year ahead.
In the build up to this EXCO I asked of our leadership that they reflect on some key questions about where they think FOSAF could be in the years ahead and what kind of contribution they feel they can make. The creative replies have been remarkable and creative. I look forward to discussing our way ahead in this innovative spirit.
"ON THE LINE" - EDITORIAL FROM THE FOSAF CHAIR- Ilan Lax
My 2015/6 FOSAF Chairman's report forms the main editorial however two key developments are worthy of urgent report:
We will keep you updated on developments.
Ahhh.... Punctuation. Where would we be without it?
Life began for me in 1954. That was the year I caught my very first real fish (not that I hadn't prior already gained notoriety as a marauder of note in rock pools and around suburban goldfish ponds). Sixty-two years have passed yet I remember it as if yesterday, the fish yes, but more, the expedition and adventure that my life became because of it. Who would have thought that a 3 or 4 kg spotted grunter could fill an imagination with a fever such as would survive every vicissitude that a crock full of dubious life choices might toss ones' way?
Having fished in that time for every bottom-feeder and fishes-of-all-stripes right through to the great roving oceanic wolves ~ the chronicles of which some of you may have waded ~ I find myself hard-pressed to explain what it is these aging eyes now look at.
Not for a first time I come full circle, in the T.S. Eliot sense of having journeyed (distinctly different to mere travelling) and returned to a place of departure, seeing the place with a vision so fresh, so other, as to be beyond compare with any memory of it.
For almost thirty years now this valley has been home. In its seasons are written the chapters of my life. In its soils are scattered the ashes of souls I have loved. Children who leaned their trout ~ and how to beguile them ~ have gone on to become adults, young parents, captains of their own entrepreneurial craft, poets and writers each of an own unique story.
In the living of that life I must own to much folly, not least of which has been impatience and unbounded social naivety. So to keep the reader tied to the thread I must depend upon healthful irreverence, a ruthless honesty and self-deprecating ironies to be amusement enough.
The Thread is THIS: anybody who still thinks the fight with DEA in their crusade against trout is about zones, or whether trout are listed alien, or invasive, or category this, or category that, has really missed the point. It is about all those things, but that is the narrow view, the little picture. On the broader landscape this fight is a life-and-death struggle over something monumental , something far more important than a few fish and the indulgence of those who fish for them.
This fight is about the fundamentals of the most important piece of law-making that has ever come out of this country, and perhaps the world. I speak of the South African Constitution. It is all that stands between us and the unbridled excesses of one cancerous dictatorship after another.
Guy Preston by his latest move of denying us access to the shape files informing the trout maps, which are based primarily on information which we as the Trout Industry provided to him through his trusty minions, proves again that he will stop at little. He proves himself more than willing to subvert the most basic tenets of due process (and good faith) in attainment of his ends and to impose his own convoluted ideology.... and fight him we must. To the end.
For if we should lose this battle we stand to watch the passing of something far greater than an entitlement to flick a fly across some upland water. One has to ask; beyond Guy Preston and his personal crusade, what of the Precedent? Either way, it would be a precedent that opens a door on the other side of which any or every simple function of your life, from owning a goldfish or parrot, having a suburban garden or planting a crop on your farm, might only be undertaken by way of government permit, or licence. Of course the ugly reality is without any policy to guide interpretation of these contemplated 'laws' the only way to get that permit will be under sufferance of the interpretation of under-qualified, incapacitated clerks in municipal offices which, at this point do not even exist.
And talking of coming full circle, what of the Trout Industry itself? It's one thing to talk of high ideals, to be a shield-bearer to proper constitutional governance and another entirely, to be consistent. Consistency requires that those same voices, so quick to clamour against the indefensible actions of DEA, dare not remain silent when individuals within the stake-holder group, be they influential or not, show themselves to be in equal disregard of those same ideals.
By way of hypothetical example: if a trout production facility on a pristine mountain stream were to suffer the misfortune of a fish kill during a drought, and the tragedy of truckloads of dead and rotting fish were to land in said stream with significant degrading environmental impact, that would be a disaster, at least in the short term. One might at a push argue an un-avoidable 'event'. But if that same facility were discovered in the course of such event to be breaking basic operating codes.... like say for instance, if in the facility plan sections labelled as dedicated effluent/waste settlement ponds, are found to have been crammed with product not-quite-ready-for-market, then the unavoidable event begins to look more like corporate malfeasance. For such practice to be allowed without censure.... well that would be a disaster, long term.
To find and to hold the high ground one must have a compass... and for a compass to be worth squat, it must point true through whichever storms one need travel. #justsaying.
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