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#1
THE ENDANGERED RIVER FISH

As you have all heard recently bass and trout are under threat from conservation authorities due to the fact that they are preying on our indigenous fish species. I don’t dispute the fact that bass and trout are predatory fish and are responsible in some waters for the disappearance of indigenous fish. But there are bigger threats to our waters than exotic fish and that is pollution, and illegal netting.

I have spent years on our rivers fishing for yellows (natal scaly) and have witnessed how fast they are disappearing. At first I believed it had something to do with the bass until I started bass fishing and noticed the bass where disappearing as well.

I soon realized what an impact the illegal netters had on my little stretch of river between the base of molweni hill and the dam wall at inanda on the umgeni, where I used to fish almost every week end.

The locals first started with cast nets and their most productive times where during the spawn when all the yellows congregated at obstructions along the river, especially below the dam wall. This was a lot of effort and now they will often stretch a gill net across the river then beat and thrash the water to chase the fish into it. Most of the fish caught are yellows and tilapia but these nets are in discriminate and will catch anything that’s in the river. At the same time they will cast nets in the cordoned off area and everything is caught.

The authorities where called but they are yet to arrive.

The biggest problem however is pollution. when fishing for yellows you spend a lot of time walking the river systems in search of pools and rapids, places where yellows may be hiding. You will come across locals washing clothes or themselves or taxis, and just have a look around in those areas most of the fish population is gone all you find is rat tailed maggots in the water which is a sign that the water is not good. A good example of a place like this is at howick falls. Yes we all understand this is a tradition and Zulus have been doing this for centuries but they did not have washing powders and detergents then. Surely the authorities can get together and come up with wash areas that don’t go directly into the rivers. As much as I respect Zulu culture, people need to realize that if we don’t look after our rivers and dams we will end up with nothing. Just driving up to Nagal dam one day I lost count of the amount of people washing their clothes carpets and blankets etc. each person is probably using one or two blocks of soap if you had to count the number of blocks of soap going into or rivers each day it would be astonishing, take the same amount over a week and put it in one of our major dams I will guarantee it will kill everything in that dam. Yet the authorities continue to allow people to build and clear along the rivers and nothing is done about the washing for example Howick falls. Not only is it killing a lot of fish etc but the tourism in that area too.

The authorities will tell you that arresting netters is difficult because the criminals believe it is their right to catch all the fish they want or because they are hungry and it is their only source of income. Yet let a bass fisherman go out on the dam without a boat permit or fishing permit it is a problem. The price of a boat permit at Msinsi is now R300 per year at Midmar it is R60, per year fishing permits at Msinsi is R60 a year per person. These funds are supposed to be used to maintain dams and water systems.

House breaking and hijacking is against the law too and this is done because people are hungry yet they are still prosecuted so if gill netting is against the law perpetrators should be prosecuted to.

A company spills effluent into the river and there is big drama, as there should be, but is it a traditional custom to put soap and car cleaning chemicals in the river on a daily basis? Surely it is just a matter of re education and finding washing sites that will not pollute the systems. Another major problem is litter Durban has got to be the filthiest city around and where does all this litter go? Just go into Durban harbor and the Umgeni mouth and take a look for yourself. Back in the old days there was a huge campaign with ZIBI. Remember the phrase “zap it in a zibby can’ now it appears that the local authorities are no longer concerned about clean cities. People used to get fined for littering now even the police throw their rubbish out the windows ( driving behind a Durban city police car the other day I watched as all his Kentucky packets where flung onto the road )

Yet still the authorities are concerned about the exotic fish. I am no expert but even I can see what the actual problem is

There is a lot of money to be made from fines for littering if you can’t afford to pay a fine make the perpetrator do community service and clean up the rivers. If you ask a person why he is littering he will probably tell you he is creating a job for someone, what he does not tell you is that the tourist that saw the mess won’t be back again and neither will his friends, and the nurse that was going to get a job had to be substituted for a cleaner. At a popular tourist park I was told by a head master of a local school after I encountered him about the mess his scholars had left behind, that it is their duty to create jobs by leaving a mess. Attitudes like this from rural schools need to be changed. Schools are the perfect place to start with clean up campaigns.

We need to look after our rivers and dams as they are a valuable resource and the fish that are in them play an important role in keeping them clean. We need someone to police them and maybe the reintroduction of the inland waters fishing permit is the way to go pay someone or some company to patrol these systems and bring our rivers back into shape. Organizations like ESA, ARTLURE, SABAA and others similar should all get involved in an attempt to clean up our waters and manage them properly, fishing clubs and boating clubs can all play their part as well, for example on the side of the free way we have these companies that adopt a section and keep them clear of aliens ect a similar system could be set up on the rivers and dams where the company can police and maintain their section of the river.

Bass and trout are the least of our concerns when it comes to the disappearance of indigenous species soon the water will have no fish at all. And as for drinking water in the future it is as threatened as our fish are!
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#2
I agree completely!! But the re eduction thing. Hmmm goodluck with that one. You will have more success cleaning behind them!! You will learn them nothing

I ve been saying for a long time. One of the biggest reason bass and trout is so succesfull is becuase we, the anglers, look after them as well. The bass okes managed to get the catch and release going,the trout guys kill and freeze but atleast have trout farms witch supply their fish,it just cost them more. Beside the fact about the netting(witch is a massive, the biggest problem) if you walk around a dam where they "papgooi" every fish caught is put in the keepnet and taken home!! Not just karp,everything!! Indigenous the works. What do they expect will happen?? A bass cant eat a 2kg yellow!!! Ok myabe hell try :blue-biggrin: And then they blame bass. And I am am talking about W folks. If you cannot even educate them about catch and release how then the "nation"? Especially if they dont have food...

But ja its a big problem and needs a big solution. I do agree
One fish can change it all.....
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#3
All valid points Mr August but arent you stereotyping a bit.....?

I am a converted papgooier and still enjoy going every now and again. The majority of papgoiers practice catch and release and have been doing so for a considerable period of time........i am not talking about the brandy and coke brigade now but the guys that do it competitively. I actually dont mind if they take out some of the carp coz they just cause k@k in any event.

In sanctioned provincial and inter-club events all yellow fish are released immediately after being caught. A weigh master will come to your peg and weigh it there and then.

That being said......no angler with rod and reel can endanger any specy let alone wipe it out. We need to look at the fckers with the gill nets :blue-evil:

The solution.......education........hell i dont know??? Maybe we should wrangle some of those mean flat dogs from St Lucia and introduce a sh1t load into the umgeni river :blue-idea:
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#4
Ok maybe a bit..
I also papgooi. And I know some of the more competitive guys do release,but they are few. And I dont mind if they take carp,I hate a carp,its when all the other stuff caught is kept where the trouble comes. The dams were I come from,fanies,kwena and those places papgooi catch and release rarely happens. Ive even seen pics in the stywe lyne were they had a comp and 1st 2nd and 3rd place's fish was packed out to show people,wont see that happening in a bass comp.
You must remember,we think differently when it comes to any fishing because we were tought the way of catch and release from when we were little.
I also think that okes with fishing rods alone cant do as much damage,but its not just the odd one or two guys a weekend fishing anymore,there is lots. I do believe it has an effect,not necceseraly the biggest(thats why I said netting is the biggest). Otherwise why all the effort in doing catch and release and getting the message accross if it didnt have an effect??
One fish can change it all.....
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#5
August you confuse me. You say ,keep the carp, but release the bass.
Most bassers have a problem with catch and release when it comes to "other fish". Allow the angler to enjoy eating his occational bass,carp, yellow etc and we will breed responsible anglers.Calling a papgooier a 'hook and cook' when you advocate carp 'hook and kill' is unfair.
Over the last 30 years bass have bred prolific and believe me there are more bass now than ever before, and the 'hook and cook' brigade has increased drastically.The 'net and cook' is where the danger lies FOR ALL SPECIES OF FISH!!
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#6
I feel carp makes just as must trouble as bass if not more. If i am not mistaken they are also not from here like bass and trout. With all the indigenous fish species I do catch and release and with try to promote it. With carp I dont care. The carp is not my point, my point is that okes are going home with keepnets full of fish and they are not just carps.

Sorry if I stereotyped,not my Intention, I promise.Just saying what Ive seen.
One fish can change it all.....
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#7
Welcome to Africa - Fart against the thunder if you can[/b]
[Image: 10qdh5w.jpg]
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#8
TheCrow Wrote:driving behind a Durban city police car the other day I watched as all his Kentucky packets where flung onto the road )

This drives me insane, I've seen this on many occasions and once even picked KFC packs up in front of the people that threw them, note that there was a dust bin no more than 2 meters away, but only to be geered and called names.

Its a mind set and that a hard thing to change, I've even had plastic packs of rubbish in my car and my "passenger" wanted to through them out and I said what you doing and his answer way sorry I thought I was in the township. Like the example of the Head Master condoning that kind of behavior, its just wrong.

I got no problem with a few hook and cookers although I have lots of friends who carp fish and have never seen one kept or cooked. For me its the pollution in the waters that will kill the sport.
The more I learn about fishing the more I realise
how much more I have to learn about fishing.
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#9
Lionel what a great report, your passion for our fishing waters is an inspiration.
To open the proverbial can of worms is always necessary; referring to the successful action taken by “anti taxi team” I think it was, at Inanda and the positive outcome thereof.
The subsistence mentality, is Africa’s biggest downfall and until such is eradicated, no positive outcome will prevail.
If the community dumps their rubbish on the streets, and doing so, to create jobs, then why do we South Africans have an excessively high unemployment rate and the rubbish is still where it was dumped.

As it is easier to manipulate the ships compass than it is to change the course of the ship.

The crocodile introduction seems a likely answer but as we know these will be poached and skinned quicker that the fish caught in the gill nets.
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#10
TheCrow Wrote:during the spawn when all the yellows congregated at obstructions along the river, especially below the dam wall.

This is quiet something to witness, the fist time I saw it we went back the next day with a underwater video camera but the water was to dark. There are loads of these yellows everywhere and would be easy pickings.
The more I learn about fishing the more I realise
how much more I have to learn about fishing.
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#11
Great write up Lionel. I do agree that no angler with a rod and reel could harm a river or Dam population even if he did take home his catch every time. I am sure there bags are not always full and more often than not will be mainly full of the target species. Basically it won't be much compared to 1 days gillnetting and their nets will be full of everything. Day after day of that is going to wipe the fish out in no time.


Still the most powerful and effective killer of all species in a water system is pollution. Gillnets and fishing rods are no match. This is the main problem, by the time you have educated a nation our water systems may have already collapsed and there will be nothing left to save…
Sometimes the fishing is so bad not even the liars catch anything!!!!
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#12
The Crow. Lionel e mail your report / post to SABC2 50/50 and maybe they will take enough interest to do a shoot :blue-confused: oops wrong word :blue-doubt: do a documentary on this issue.
I see in SA Bass March issue there is an article "BASS ANGLERS WANTED TO SAVE THE VAAL"
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#13
Sorry me again... I was thinking about this post quite a bit. This problem is also mainly inland or in KZN. The cape does not have any problems with gillnetting and much pollution that I am aware of. We also don’t have any townships on our shores which is a great help….

I did however read about how the new dam in franschoek is geared up to keep the water as clean as possible but alas down stream from the wall is some plant or something that is polluting the river system... so millions have been spent on making the water clean and right for the environment but a few hundred meters down stream it's stuffed again... how very sad...
Sometimes the fishing is so bad not even the liars catch anything!!!!
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#14
The gillnetting is a problem in limpopo as well. Dont think polution is that big problem in limpopo.
Have found a few nets in tzn dam, but is not so major, but middel letaba you cannot move 20m without hitting one. Apparently so for nandoni as well.
No aggresive locals as well
One fish can change it all.....
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