ANNUAL REPORT FROM THE FOSAF CHAIR - ILAN LAX
It is once again my pleasure to report to the FOSAF membership and other interested parties on our activities during the past year.
We continue to await the further outcome of the NEM:BA regulations process. What we have heard recently is of extreme concern: The Department of Environmental Affairs appears to be determined to press ahead with implementation of a framework that is entirely different to that we worked so hard on in the past. While we have yet to see the actual framework, or understand how it might work and be resourced, the intimations from the officials we have had contact with do not appear to make sense and what is clear is that the agreed framework of demarcated areas will not be implemented before the Act is amended. While FOSAF remains committed to working with the relevant authorities to achieve a win-win solution in the interests of anglers and the environment, we will not agree to changes and a framework that has not been consulted upon in an open and public manner as required by both the Constitution and NEMA. We will be writing to the Department in this regard and will keep you all posted on developments.
While FOSAF has made an effort to improve its outreach and reaffirmed its connection to Flyfishing magazine we remain relatively unheralded and not well known among fly- and other anglers. There is still a huge amount we have to do to get our message across to all anglers.
The FOSAF Guide to Fly-Fishing Destinations in SA has been well received as an excellent publication. Added to this was the launch of the new Favoured Flies card collection has also been received with acclaim. The cards provide a handy, quick guide that integrates with the detailed information in the book series. The publications team, lead by Bill Mincher, deserve high praise for this outstanding publication.
The EXCO has not met on a face to face basis since last year’s AGM and EXCO but regular emails and telephonic discussions on an individual basis have sufficed to ensure reasonable contact. Chapters
Full chapter reports will be forthcoming at the EXCO however I will briefly note some observations:
Alan Hobson continued to lead a committed team. He made regular visits to the clubs in the region and reports that most clubs are doing well. I was again privileged to attended the EC AGM and confirm that the chapter is doing well. I again thank them and Brian Clark in particular for their exceptional hospitality during my visit. It is now clear that positive outcome in the Ugie and Maclear area has been built upon and the club now enjoys a positive relationship with the landowner.
Peter Mills continues to provide able leadership with the support of a good team. Peter Arderne continues to provide a stable foundation and has expanded the Chapter’s environmental activism in a number of important project based activities aimed at securing the rivers in the chapter’s area of influence. The Yellowfish Working Group remain a focus area under Peter Mills’ leadership and we look forward to outcome of their annual deliberations to be held at Jonkershoek in April.
The Western Cape:
Gerald Penkler reports that the chapter have been active in a range of activities that provide support to aquatic biodiversity conservation efforts. Many volunteers are keen to assist with these activities. The committee continues to find a balance between the interests of indigenous species and trout and have planned further activities for the year ahead.
Jim Read continues lead an active and committed chapter. The chapter continues its good relationship with EKZNW and other stakeholders and continues to participate in the province’s freshwater fishing liaison committee. The clubs in the region remain active. Increasing interest from anglers indicates a shift for the better and I believe that there are useful lessons that could be shared with other regions.
Dirk Human reports that he has again had a difficult year. It appears difficult to achieve buy-in from the various flyfishers in the province. The state of the rivers and the fish in them is most alarming. This will put pressure on those more pristine areas and anglers will need to take extra care as a result. FOSAF will have to find different way to achieve its goal of uniting flyfishers in the region and we remain grateful for Dirk’s persistent efforts.
Dr Bill Bainbridge continues to ably guide the environmental team’s efforts with regard to NEMBA and other matters. The committee provided input on the policy approach to trout in the Integrated Management Plan for the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site.
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Peter Arderne also convened the Marketing sub-committee. He and Alan Hobson have made a positive contribution in this regard. The ideas they have offered will help us to better promote FOSAF’s image and vision. Our website and facebook page have been updated from time to time and Peter Arderne must be thanked for his continuing efforts to ensure FOSAF broadcasts its message and achievements widely.
FOSAF continues to achieve and enormous amount and add to its notable legacy despite being a voluntary organisation.
As always special thanks are due to the secretariat of Stuart and Liz Tough for the dedicated and efficient manner in which they manage FOSAF, the AGM and EXCO and for handling the travel arrangements, logistics. My thanks are also again due to all those members that do make an input. This includes John Webber for the preparation our of AFS; our President Andrew Levy and vice presidents Tom Sutcliffe and Bill Mincher for their consistent wise counsel, Bill Bainbridge for chairing the Environmental Committee and my colleagues on the EXCO for their support and commitment to FOSAF’s objectives and values . Last but not least, to the wives and partners of EXCO members, thank you for sharing your significant others with us and holding the fort in their absence on FOSAF business.
I look forward to again sharing FOSAF’s vision and tackling the issues and opportunities that face us in the year ahead. It is my hope that others outside of our organisation will better see and appreciate the value FOSAF continues to bring to our engagement with the sport and the aquatic environment.
THE TIPPET GOES ELECTRONIC
The FOSAF Executive Committee has decided to extend the circulation of The Tippet by email to all those members who have supplied us with their email address. As from this issue of the newsletter #36 the printed copies of The Tippet will be posted only to those members who do not have an email address.
Please help us by providing your email address and we will include you on this circulation. This will result in a financial saving and will be joining our other electronic communications via our website www.fosaf.co.za and on Facebook
One of the few issues in which the committee has been called to make input, has been to send policy recommendations to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, on how it should deal with the presence of trout in the Ukhahlamba- Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, as part of the review of the integrated management plan for this important protected area, as reported by Jim. Exco Members have been circulated with copies of our report.
It is a matter of considerable concern that I have to report that other than on this matter, there has been very little activity by the Environmental Committee during the past year. This has not been because of inertia on the part of members of our committee. To the contrary, it is unfortunately as a consequence of the approach that seems to have been taken by the Department of Environmental Affairs in the drafting and submission to parliament of the draft Alien and Invasive Species regulations of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, (or “NEMBA”) as everyone calls it.
It will be recalled that at the end of 2010, FOSAF and representatives of many other interested and affected parties, underwent a flurry of activity to undertake a mapping exercise together with Dr Ernst Swartz of the SA Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity and provincial nature conservation officials. Small teams throughout the country, worked long and hard to delineate waters in which trout could be permanently maintained, as opposed to other waters which were to be maintained, as far as possible, trout-free. A number of our members put in considerable time and effort into this exercise. Many of us were hopeful that this might put an end to the whole saga of persuading the official organisations that while FOSAF is strongly supportive of the need to conserve indigenous biodiversity, we also believe that the trout industry which has significant economic and social benefits (and which is of multi-million Rand proportions), also has a rightful place, following the principles of sustainable development.
Unfortunately, it would seem that we may have been a little naďve in cherishing this ideal, as the authorities, principally the Department of Environmental Affairs, seem to have done an about-turn in attitude. This was caused, we understand, by the realisation that NEMBA does not permit the previous framework they and many other stakeholders like FOSAF had been working towards. This is something FOSAF alerted the Department to very early on in the process but our warning was ignored in the light of a contrary legal view expressed by the Departments officials and legal advisors. The Department now intends to amend the Act to allow for the framework we had been working towards. However, in the interim a new set of regulations will be implemented.
The officials dealing with this issue have not seen fit to keep stakeholders, such as FOSAF, informed of progress, and are working away in their usual arcane manner. The meagre information we have been given has all been in response to written queries that our chairman, Ilan, has made. One might have expected(again, probably naively) that the department would have developed a register of the NGO’s and stakeholders that made significant inputs in the review of previous draft regulations (by submitting detailed comment and proposals and attending workshops as did FOSAF), and would have kept these stakeholders informed of developments. Unfortunately, no such luck!
All that we can say is that new draft regulations appear to have been drafted, and unfortunately we have no idea of their contents. We have also been told that the department considers that sufficient consultation has already taken place to date, and that consequently, no further public consultation is contemplated. This beggars the fact that these new draft regulations apparently differ in significant respects to previous versions.
Our chairman has written the department to vigorously object to this state of affairs, but to date, there are no indications that the department will relent. This matter will be discussed in more detail at the Exco.
It would therefore seem that we may have a big fight on our hands!
MEMBERS DRAW The winner of the April/May 2012 Member’s Draw is Rob Becker of Durban who prize is flyfishing equipment from the Kingfisher in Durban. The winner of the June/July draw is Arthur Knoesen of Bonzo Bay whose prize is a self-catering stay at Lowestoffe Country Lodge in the Hogsback area.
DISCOUNTS FROM FOSAF AFFILIATES AND MEMBER CLUBS
Discounts are available to FOSAF members from
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