YWG October 2020 newsletter

Dear YWG supporter,

Here is the latest news:


FOSAF/YWG’s position on the VDK research project and the draft National Freshwater (Inland) Wild Capture Fisheries Policy.

Let us be clear at the outset, FOSAF/YWG oppose gillnetting.

At the same time we believe that the research project at Vanderkloof Dam which has only a couple of months to run should be completed and the data analysed and made available to all interested parties even though several scientists believe the trial to be fatally flawed. Such flaws as there may be will no doubt become evident in the data and the project findings and recommendations and can if flawed, easily be challenged at that stage. 

FOSAF/YWG, like many other people and bodies, are concerned about the illegal gillnetting that is taking place throughout the country, including on many of our estuarine systems. There appears to be an unwillingness by the responsible government departments to halt this very damaging practice.  We see no engagements with and between relevant stakeholders around this problem nor proper efforts aimed at ensuring sustainable livelihoods.  While some believe a command control approach may be called for in the short-term this is not a viable long-term solution to ensuring buy-in and compliance.

FOSAF/YWG representatives have attended virtually all the workshops held to discuss the draft freshwater fisheries policy. Our submission contains a clear statement that we oppose gillnetting together with reasons for this including, that it is not a sustainable method of harvesting fish. In addition, gillnets are a major cause of pollution and problems because they are lost or abandoned. 

At the same time, we have highlighted that poor communities and small-scale subsistence fishers should be granted equitable access to public state owned waters. We see the need for a positive contribution offering workable sustainable alternatives in the development of the policy. This has become an issue of serious contestation. This is particularly so where poor communities and small-scale subsistence fishers believe or perceive that their equitable access is being thwarted by elitist or racist agendas.

What is needed is constructive engagement - with all parties, including government being willing to consider a full spectrum of viable alternatives aimed at addressing all the concerns raised, so that the benefits of our fresh water fisheries are equitably shared and sustainably preserved for future generations.

Renaming the chiselmouths

Leonard Flemming’s article titled “Chiselled” in the Sept/Oct 2020 Mission magazine woke us up to the fact that all the chiselmouths had been renamed from Varicorhinus spp to Labeobarbus spp way back in 2016.  For a copy of the 2016 article by Dr Paul Skelton please click here. The chiselmouths are therefore true yellowfishes and we will have to update some of the YWG information on the website.

Mid –Vaal and Gauteng Rivers report by Chris Williams.

We recommend that you go to our latest edition of the Tippet here and scroll down to Chris Williams’ excellent article on the Vaal system.

Regarding the other Gauteng rivers it is really heartening to note within our area there about twelve different local river-cleaning action groups. They are making a real difference. What is even more heartening is that the participants come from all walks of life. Saturday morning clean-ups are now routine. I’ve attended several and not only are they rewarding but great fun and usually there’s a braai or social afterwards. Rather like going fishing - but leaving your rod at home! Find out how you can help or start up your local river action group.

World Fish Migration Day

This important day is only weeks away on 24th October. Check it out here.

Saving the Sandfish Project

Dr Jeremy Shelton (Freshwater Research Centre) has assured me that he will have an update for us to place in the November/December 2020 newsletter. Something to look forward to.

Kind regards,