FOSAF NEWS - Rerouting……or getting the process for mapping the whereabouts of trout back on track by Ilan Lax

The meeting that was to take place in Pretoria on 11 April 2016 to discuss the regulation and mapping of trout has been called off. This is a very good thing as the meeting would have been contrary to the process that had been agreed at a meeting that took place last month between the Director Generals of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and representatives of Trout SA and FOSAF. It was confirmed and/or agreed at that meeting that:

 

1. DAFF is the mandated national department responsible for the management of the aquaculture and fishery sectors. The management of the regulation of trout aquaculture, the value chain and fishery stocking will thus be devolved to DAFF.

 2. The Phakisa and MINMEC agreements that trout will not be listed as invasive in areas where they occur were confirmed.

3. The MINMEC agreement will be provided to Trout SA and FOSAF.

4. DEA, DAFF and Trout SA will cooperate to establish a self-regulatory system for the management of the movement and stocking of trout as an alien species in unlisted areas.

 5. To facilitate the regularisation of the trout value chain there will be a moratorium on prosecutions of existing trout aquaculture and fishery operations which have registered with DAFF and are cooperating to with the regulatory authorities to implement responsible aquaculture practises.

6. Provincial environmental legislation in respect of trout and fisheries will be reviewed and harmonised with the Constitution and the NEMA framework. (Trout SA offered to assist in the drafting of appropriate provisions.) If there are concurrence issues (around old legislation to be reviewed and around different jurisdictions for the different permits) these must be harmonised and delegated appropriately to ensure efficient and simple implementation. The application of provincial environmental laws should in the interim be consistent with the Phakisa agreements and the proposed listing and regulations for trout.

7. The provinces were party to the MINMEC agreement confirming the Operation Phakisa promotion of the trout value chain. It was not necessary revisit the matter on the basis of concurrent jurisdiction and no further consultation was required because the issue had been discussed, agreed and finalised. Implementation was now urgently required.

 8. The mapping of trout will be finalised by DEA and Trout SA, under the direction of an independent facilitator (DG DEA proposed to approach Prof Brian Huntley).

9. The distribution of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus will be mapped to facilitate permitting of aquaculture in catchments where they are established.

10. Mapping principles for trout and tilapia: We need to reflect the situation of where these species occur.

10.1 Where things are not in contention this must be reflected.

10.2 Where there are complexities this must be explained and reflected.

 10.3 The maps and the data base must be produced for implementation.

11. The DG DEA requested that problems relating to the implementation of the Phakisa and AIS regulations not be publicised in popular media articles before her offices had been approached to resolve them.

12. Transformation of the trout aquaculture sector. Both DGs DAFF and DEA emphasised the need for the value chain to reflect better transformation in terms of demographics (i.e. both race and gender). Trout SA undertook to draft transformation proposals to engage with DAFF and DEA. Despite this wide ranging agreement officials in DEA went ahead as if this meeting had not taken place and attempted to implement a process that would have seen the entire trout value chain subjected to a permitting system run by DEA. FOSAF and Trout SA are grateful that the meeting has been called off. They see this as a positive step towards developing and enabling the trout value chain in ways that will inter alia help to transform the aquaculture sector. They thank those whose untiring efforts made this possible and confirm their commitment to achieving the outcomes described above. The Phakisa office will now schedule a meeting to discuss the maps for May 2016. Before this meeting, all relevant information on the whereabouts of trout must be made available and shared so that a constructive and informed discussion can hopefully result in as broad a consensus as possible.

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