The NTA/FOSAF team travelled to Cape Town to meet with the DFFE on Monday 20th November. The morning session was a meeting of the Ministerial Task Team which is seeking to find practical solutions to the listing of trout under the AIS regulations. The afternoon was a different meeting devoted to the new version of the ADB. This was gazetted together with a revised Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) for a 60-day public comment on 17 November 2023. (The ADB and SEIAS can be found at here.)



In the first meeting which took place after a two-year hiatus due to covid and other issues, a recap of the history was provided by our team.  This was a useful exercise to re-focus the objectives of the meeting. We believe some progress was made.

We are pleased that the DFFE team have expressed willingness for their legal team to meet Ilan Lax with a view to brainstorming some new solutions. This is important because this will allow for an open-ended participative discussion. The meeting has been scheduled for the second half of January 2024. Our team’s focus and objective remain the implementation of the Phakisa agreement of 2014.

The afternoon discussion involved a delegation from Aquaculture SA and DFFE aquaculture officials. It was intended to be an informal discussion of the new version of the ADB. Unfortunately, this was a far less productive session. The main problem from our team’s viewpoint was that the DFFE contingent were not accompanied by their legal advisors, despite this being a discussion of legislation and the fact that many of the previous issues raised involved legal and rights-based issues.

Some concerns relate to:

  1. How is registration (a new idea introduced in this version) with all its requirements, conditionality, lack of certainty, etc., different to permits or licences and the other requirements set out in the ADB?
  2. Why does farming of aquatic species require registration, permits or licences. i.e., some form of “authorisation” by the Minister?
  3. How will the various government departments and organs of state ensure they reach an agreement, whether in principle or for real, to forgo their respective constitutional competencies and jurisdictions, in order to create a “one stop shop” as contemplated in the ADB? This is the key to the Bill providing an enabling environment.
  4. Marine and freshwater aquaculture have different needs. The ADB does not accommodate these at present.
  5. How is the Bill going to promote development?
  6. The cost of implementing the Bill and who will fund it?
  7. The transfers of registrations, licences and permits (like e.g. the sale of businesses).
  8. Why has the total value chain been included in the definition of “aquaculture activities”?

You will see that there are some fundamental issues of principle affecting the trout value chain.

As with the task team, it was agreed that Ilan Lax and other aquaculture legal people, would meet their legal team to consider the legal issues raised in the new ADB. This will require a rethink of some key aspects of the Bill in order to transform it into a framework acceptable from a legal standpoint and also acceptable to the industry. This will be an extremely time-consuming undertaking. It is hoped that the discussions can follow the trout matter meeting with the DFFE legal team in late January 2024.

Regarding the flyfishing destinations who comprise the majority of our NTA membership as part of the trout value chain, the draft ADB in its current form requires them to be registered.

Unfortunately, in the light of the above it appears that it will be months and may even be longer before any acceptable resolution on either the trout matter or the ADB is reached. And only if and when it is reached, can we in Mpumalanga approach the MTPA and discuss the permits for stocking trout in the province, something that the authorities wish to make mandatory in provinces like KZN.

Thank you to all of you who have paid your 2023/24 membership fees as our costs continue to mount. Henceforth only paid-up members will remain on our circulation list. We trust also that you will continue to support those trout suppliers who are members of the NTA.


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