Trout Wars

Trout Wars

Ed Herbst writes:

At the time of writing, June 2018, fly anglers and trout hatcheries face an existential threat.

The Deputy Director General of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Dr Guy Preston, is seeking to have trout declared as invasive.

I have written two articles on this subject for Politicsweb pointing out that if trout are listed as invasive, it will effectively render all hatcheries illegal overnight; prevent the importation of trout eggs which hatcheries use and prevent riparian owners from collecting and transporting trout fingerlings to stock their income-generating dams and streams.

We are hugely indebted to two KZN lawyers, Ian Cox and the chairman of FOSAF, Ilan Lax, for pointing out the legal and environmental shortcomings in the proposed legislation.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, is not, however, giving up on her department’rws campaign against trout and two further objections have this been raised by Ian Cox and Ilan Lax

The origins of the campaign against trout goes back to the mid-1980s and it started with a decision by the then Cape Nature Conservation (CNC) to cease breeding trout in its historic Jonkershoek hatchery. CNC said it could not justify the legislation protecting trout when indigenous fish species were on the Red Data list and neither could it justify the expenditure.

It then started a campaign seeking to portray trout as a threat to indigenous fish species.

There is no evidence to suggest that trout have extirpated any species of aquatic life and, in order to protect the interests of fly anglers, FOSAF was started in March 1986.

Over the years various aspects of this debate have been covered in the CPS journal, Piscator, and I am indebted to Sunet van Antwerpen for her continuing work in posting articles of interest on this website.

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