YWG February 2022 newsletter

Dear YWG supporter,

Herewith the latest news:


Saving the Sandfish Project.

In our December newsletter we reported that in September last year Jeremy Shelton of the Freshwater Research Centre (www.frcsa.org.za.) and his team went to the dams where fry from the 2020 sandfish spawn had been placed and they were able to net over 1000 sandfish which had grown out to about 18cm. These were placed back into the lower Biedouw River coinciding with the spawning migration of wild fish. Thereafter, 7000 fry from the 2021 spawn were netted and placed in these dams where they are safe from predation by alien fishes such as bass.

Then a week ago some of the team returned to the Biedouw which normally by mid to late summer has ceased to flow and is merely a series of pools, but this year had benefitted from some unseasonal thunderstorms. The team were successful in rescuing another 7000 fingerlings from these pools and placed them in the 5 sanctuary dams which are used for growing out sandfish fingerlings. It is estimated that some 14 000 fingerlings from the 2021 spawn have now been placed in these dams. Naturally there will be some losses mainly due to predation by birds. Once again, once these young fish have reached 18 to 20 cm in size and relatively safe from alien fish predation, they will be returned to the lower Biedouw and Doring rivers.

Lowveld branch of the YWG.

With 900ml or more of rain falling in the last 2 months all the rivers in the area are in flood and there is also the threat of a cyclone over the lower Mozambique channels. However, if the rain does ease off Louis Wessels will resume his work and as he has already stated ne would very much like to involve anglers who fish these rivers. Louis is available at 0824641971 and louis@tunica.co.za.

The Vanderkloof Dam research project.

We reported at length on this and the recently announced Freshwater Fisheries Policyin the December newsletter ( click here.) and with regard to the former we are still waiting for the Northern Cape government to take a decision on the matter.

The Vaal River pollution crisis by Chris Williams.

Regular updates are included in the YWG reports on the new FOSAF/YWG website. Northern Region FOSAF/YWG maintain their activism including working with other fishing and environmental groups in particular with the SAVE team. Municipalities and Government have not really progressed anything since our report a year ago. The last DWS Minister made many empty promises and she has delivered nothing. Wastewater treatment plants and sewage pump stations in the mid-Vaal region are either inoperable or are decaying with no repairs or renewals. It is however promising to note that many powerful entities including SAVE/FOSAF NR, Afriforum and others, are taking legal action against the offending structures and individuals. This is now fact. It is at a legally-sensitive stage but we will appraise you of the action taking place when it is publicly available. There is a huge call for privatisation which has been shown to work in areas like Harrismith where the general public have united to get things repaired and up and running. It is amazing how a small, determined band of citizens can get things done without the burdens of corruption, inefficiency, apathy and incompetence.

Kind regards,