YWG August 2020 newsletter

Dear YWG supporter,

Here is the latest news:


Saving the Sandfish Project

In the June newsletter we announced that this project led by Dr Jeremy Shelton (Freshwater Research Centre) has received a conservation grant from the National Geographic Society to help save the Endangered Clanwilliam Sandfish which is now extinct in the Olifants system and is hanging on by a thread in the Doring catchment. The team was due back on the field this month, but this may be postponed by the lockdown restrictions. In the meantime, the Biedouw River is looking really good after the excellent winter rains.

In case you missed the June newsletter and wish to learn more about the project the two links below will provide you with valuable information:

          Saving Sandfish web page

Saving Sandfish web series: episode 1

        Mid-Vaal & Gauteng rivers report by Chris Williams

E.coli counts and pollution are at a high as we enter our dry winter season with low water levels in the Vaal Dam compounding the problem of slower and lower flows in the River. Raw sewage spills continue on the Vaal River and Dam. As most if not all of you know this is a national problem and the mid-Vaal is the high population density 'hot spot'. Your local regular fly fishing guides will know the safer and cleaner waters to fish.

SASS5 aquatic biometric monitoring is currently being conducted in the area from the Dam confluence with the River through to Parys. In shorthand, this measures the prevalence or absence of various aquatic insect orders as an indicator of river health. Ongoing results in the area confirm a worsening of pollution and aeration resulting in increasing scarcity or total absence of several of the mid-tolerance species of mayflies and caddis.

SAVE continues with the legal process as previously reported. Guilty parties are using the Covid 19 pandemic to try and deflect attention away from the growing water supply crisis.

As we near Women's Day, a special mention and thank you to all women fly fishers! Especially to those who work behind the scenes to try and ensure our fish have acceptable water quality and quantity to inhabit.

A prime example at present is Hennops Revival under the effective and dedicated leadership of Tarryn Johnston and her team are working wonders. You will have noted in the media the disgusting and criminal act of dumping Covid PPE masks/gloves and waste upstream of the Irene Country Club earlier this week. Hennops Revival are having a clean-up this weekend on the river at Irene/South Downs, Please check their website and attend if you are in the area.

Vanderkloof Dam fishery

The smallscale experimental fishery project has restarted and from the reports we have received it appears to be complying with its management plan. FOSAF/YWG continue to monitor to monitor to the best of our ability from afar given our lack of resources. If we become aware of non-compliance based on sound evidence we will act in line with our position statement. We have also received the latest report by the Rhodes University Ethical Standards-Animal Research Ethics Committee on largemouth yellowfish catches over a 12-month period which are available to you here. As and when information becomes available to us we will make it available.

Kind regards,