FOSAF NEWS - Brief Summary of the Trout mapping process by Ilan Lax

 

DEA have a statutory duty to publish AIS (Alien invasive species) regulations in terms of NEMBA.  They have been trying to do this for many years.  FOSAF and later Trout SA (TSA) objected to these insofar as they relate to the management of trout in SA.  There were then ongoing debates and negotiations regarding the “invasiveness” and “control” of trout.

Trout producers and FOSAF got together and began to understand that fisheries are a DAFF mandate.  Thus aligning with DAFF was important for aquaculture and the full trout value chain under the NDP.  In July 2014 Operation Phakisa (a workshopping conference) was initiated around the Ocean’s Economy (part of the NDP) of which aquaculture was part (including freshwater).  The AIS came up as stumbling block at Phakisa.  Thus DEA and the trout value chain held discussions and arrived at a win-win based on pragmatic cooperative governance principles not science or law.

 The outcome of Phakisa was agreement on some key principles:

 

  • Where trout occur they will not be listed as invasive (except in certain protected areas);
  • Trout will be listed as invasive where they don’t but could occur. New introductions possible subject to risk assessment (balancing of factors);
  • There is a need to regularise existing but irregular operators/venues through registration under DAFF (implied non-prosecution);
  • Management of trout would be by self-regulation under DAFF;
  • All parties committed to ensuring an enabling environment for trout that promotes further development of the value chain in the context of a harmonised/rationalised regulatory framework (National and Provincial laws).
  • This would be an iterative process and areas could change based on new knowledge, weighing up harm and benefits.

This was followed by a meeting at Kirstenbosch to discuss the implementation of the Phakisa win-win.  FOSAF & TSA suggested that a mapping exercise should be done in order for all parties to see where trout currently occur.  A mapping meeting of all stakeholders took place in October 2014 at Fern Hill KZN.  It was realised that more info was needed.  Maps were revised with additional information and circulated for comment through SANBI (March 2015).

On 14 July 2015 we received the good news from the KZN MEC that the environmental MINMEC (Min=Minister - MEC=MECs) had endorsed the Phakisa win-win.  However, our efforts to have sight of the record of this meeting have thus far proved unsuccessful.  We were later informed this amounted to provincial concurrence.  However, some provinces and DEA continued dragging their heels.

During September 2015 and together with the invitation to the October mapping meeting, Dr Preston sent out a new proposed listing notice stating that where trout are currently present in dams they will not be considered invasive, but in in-stream dams (which most dams are) and in streams and wetlands, they will be listed as invasive and will require permits, which can be refused.  This differed substantially from what had previously been agreed at Phakisa. This was a serious stumbling block because treating trout as alien or invasive in the context of NEMBA does not create the enabling environment agreed to at Phakisa.

Given the lack of progress and the lack of cooperation being experienced in some provinces and from DEA and SANBI, we thus wrote to the Directors’ General of both DEA and DAFF (“the DGs”), the Phakisa office and various provincial departments raising our concerns at the failure to progress and implement the Phakisa win-win. Nothing happened over the festive season.

On 10 February 2016, FOSAF, TSA, the DGs (and their support teams) and the Phakisa office, met in Cape Town 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 were agreed to be the provision of the MINMEC record, the finalising of the mapping process of where trout occur as soon as possible and at the same time it was important to get going to harmonise the legislation (national and provincial) to facilitate the agreed enabling environment for the trout value chain.

Unfortunately officials have ignored these instructions of the director generals and have proceeded on the same basis that was previously objected to last year.

Dr Huntley was proposed as the new mapping facilitator. An initial meeting was cancelled due to complaints about the agenda (due to no change in approach since escalation). The meeting took place on 9 May 2015 in Pretoria. The conflict between what had been agreed at Phakisa and what officials now want to do, occupied much of the meeting.

Based on Dr Huntley’s current performance there are serious concerns about his ability to be independent and his mandate.  The Aide Memoir recording what happened at the recent mapping meeting does not reflect what was agreed or the summary of take away items FOSAF and TSA prepared. The mapping is thus not proceeding on the basis as previously discussed and agreed.  We have informed Dr Huntley we are unhappy with his facilitation.

Roger Krohn as Chair of Aquaculture SA has again escalated these concerns to the DGs of DEA and DAFF and the Phakisa office so that the process can again be brought back in line with what has been agreed.

 

Return to News