"ON THE LINE" - EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM THE FOSAF CHAIR - ILAN LAX.
The Chairman presented his 2009 Annual Report at the Annual General Meeting in March 2010.
DR WILLIE VAN NIEKERK
May we take a short moment to recognise the passing of Dr. Willie van Niekerk, one of our Patrons who served fly fishing with distinction and who made an enormous contribution to FOSAF.
Our Chapters have been functioning reasonably well and although full chapter reports will be forthcoming at tomorrow's EXCO I will briefly highlight certain aspects:
The Western Cape: This Chapter now comprises several clubs and the chapter committee includes members of the yellowfish working group for the Western Cape. It is heartening to note that the committee oversees the work of both structures in an harmonious and cooperative manner. It is also worth noting that an appropriate balance has been found between the interests of indigenous species and trout and this augers well for the future of fly fishing.
Northvaal: This Chapter continues to function efficiently and to manage the various projects allocated to it. Peter Mills continues to effectively chair the yellow fish working group and the chapter. FOSAF's publications have proven to be of high quality and the team under Bill Mincher's guidance need to be congratulated. We await the release of the new FOSAF Guide with interest. As always it is important to note Peter Arderne's sterling effects.
KZN: This Chapter continues to be ably led by Jim Read. The chapter continues its good relationship with EKZNW and participates actively in the freshwater fishing liaison committee as a key stakeholder. The clubs in the area continue to be active despite reduced membership.
Free State: This embryonic Chapter is still in the process of emerging and we are grateful to Dirk Human who has valiantly battled on - despite some negativity, other odds and important commitments (including family challenges) - at keeping the FOSAF presence and focus, particularly around the NEMBA mapping process, alive in this province. We look forward to his report tomorrow.
Eastern Cape: Martin Fick, despite an annus horribilis and considerable personal and family challenges, managed with his team to keep the Chapter going. Some progress was made in addressing the dissatisfaction expressed by this region and I believe it will be possible to heal the unfortunate disaffection that appears to have emerged in the best interests of flyfishing. FOSAF addressed the ongoing challenge for the clubs in the Ugie and Maclear areas and satisfactory progress appears to be being made in restoring access for the clubs. Despite the region adopting a contrary position on NEMBA the mapping issues were facilitated and we are reasonably confident that common sense will prevail on the part of Government.
The Environmental Committee has continued to battle away at the NEMBA challenge. The framework developed by FOSAF has largely found acceptance among fishing stakeholders. Dr Bill Bainbridge's leadership has guided the team through some difficult discussions and negotiations. FOSAF can be justly satisfied that the principles and methodology proposed by our team for the mapping process were accepted by Dr Ernst Swartz and some of the provincial conservation agencies as the appropriate basis for going forward.
All chapters made vital contributions to the process of developing the demarcated area maps.
We wait to see if the Department of Environmental Affairs will agree with this approach. We understand that the next version of the regulations, lists and maps will be published for public comment soon. As we noted last year, much will depend on what has been adopted and very importantly, the manner in which the legal framework will be implemented. While there is room for optimism we will need to remain vigilant.
As noted above the committee assisted with the Maclear Club issue and it is evident that our correspondence assisted in moving forward the resolution of this problem.
Despite developing a detailed strategic review of our objectives and activities I still feel there is room for FOSAF to be more proactive. We will be reviewing progress against the targets we set ourselves tomorrow and I believe notwithstanding our focus on NEMBA we have nevertheless achieved a fair bit in the year under review. I have no doubt there will be life after the NEMBA issues are safely laid to rest.
In conclusion, I would also like to thank: the Secretariat of Stuart and Liz Tough as well as Peter Arderne for their consistent support and backup; John Webber for dealing with our Audit with the detail and care he applies; our President Andrew Levy and Vice Presidents Tom Sutcliffe and Bill Mincher for their wise counsel, and my colleagues on the EXCO for their commitment and support.
As noted last year FOSAF's stakeholders seriously need to consider what we can do for flyfishing and what is in the best interests of FOSAF. I believe if we focus on what needs to be done and act in a way that promotes flyfishing interests we will find our petty differences pale into insignificance. I look forward to working with you again in the year ahead
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