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Thread: Vanderkloof yellows under threat from netting.

  1. #1
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    Default Vanderkloof yellows under threat from netting.

    Just when the newly discovered largemouth yellowfish gem was made, Vanderkloof Dam, the existence of our largest freshwater sportfish, fondly called “largies” are now under threat in this dam. Largemouth yellowfish numbers has recently plummeted due to waterpollution, overfishing and competition with alien fish species across it’s natural distribution range.

    In Vanderkloof Dam, largemouths have found one of it’s last safe heavens. The reason being that fishing pressure is low in this rural area far away from all mayor centers, and fishing is done by conservation minded anglers that support catch and release principles. Good water quality and abundance of structure also helps with largemouth numbers.
    According to Francois Fouche, secretariat of the Vanderkloof Angling Club, Rhodes University in co-operation with the Department of Agriculture has started with a study for the approval of “sustainable netting” of the fish in the dam. Mr. Fouche says that one of the main reasons given for the planned netting is the high numbers of smallmouth yellowfish, the cousin of the largemouth yellowfish also found in the dam.
    According to the Rhodes University’s “Rural Fisheries Program” representative, Mr. Qurban Ali Rouhani, “there are enough smallmouth yellowfish numbers in the dam to justify netting”. What makes this idea worrying is that ordinances have been passed in all the provinces where both these species occur, to protect both indigenous species. Most provinces ordinances states that largemouth yellowfish are a catch and release specie only, and that smallmouth only 2-3 fish can be taken by angler allowing they are longer than 30-45cm in length. One of the reasons given by the “Rural Fisheries Program” is that smallmouth yellowfish have a “negative” influence on other species in the dam. This statement is very hard to believe as smallmouth are indigenous to the dam and river, and most likely the only species that might be negatively influenced are the alien species also found in the dam namely carp and black bass, which numbers are lower than yellowfish it seems. The whole idea of netting this dam and it’s yellowfish goes strongly against the new NE:MBA regulations that protect indigenous fauna and flora against alien species. Should netting occur in the dam, yellowfish numbers will fall, and the void left will most likely be filled by the alien species like carp and bass. Both yellowfish species are slow breeders, and largemouth yellowfish can take up to seven years before being breeding mature and weigh just over 2 kg. Where the alien carp and bass mature at half this rate and egg counts can be twice as high. Further netting smallmouth yellows will lead to largemouth also being netted as both species share the same habitat. According to a fish conservationist no matter what size gill net is used the mesh size will catch both species of yellowfish.

    Northern Cape Conservation, under whose control Vanderkloof Dam falls, seems to take a “neutral” stance during this planning and discussion phase. Free State has very little say over the dam as an agreement was made that Gariep Dam falls under Free State Conservation and Vanderkloof Dam under the Northern Cape. According to some locals from the small town also called Vanderkloof, situated on the banks of the dam, no proper environmental impact study was done by Rhodes University and it ‘s partners, as it should take about 1-3 years to do a proper study on fish numbers, movements and ecological impact it would have removing certain numbers of species.
    After the highly publicized trophy catch of the largemouth of 11.5 kg has the local community of Vanderkloof recognized the importance of this sustainable eco tourism magnet, the largemouth yellowfish a truly flagship specie. Lodges have been inundated with calls from anglers across the country and even from America and Europe, all wanting to come and fish for “largies”. Some refer to the largemouth yellowfish as our “freshwater rhino” due to the constant battle to preserve this specie and it’s waters, before it becomes critically endangered.

    The local Vanderkloof community, consisting of lodges, restaurants and local anglers are also now working with “Fishtube.TV” a “Roam Free" Fishing Conservation Initiative, who is helping with the construction of yellowfish conservation and information boards that will be placed in the town and also around the dam at strategic places. Fishtube.tv strongly supports the actions taken to protect large and smallmouth yellowfish in the dam.

    The community is also planning to form a “forum” that would lift objections against the netting with the next meeting held by the “Rural Fisheries Program”. Any persons or associations willing to support the forum in any way are more than welcome to contact Francois Fouche on: francoissf@vodamail.co.za or 0828219457. Furthermore, a petition board is available online where everyone can put their names as with the help of social media and social pressure, it is hoped the planned netting of our iconic freshwater sport fish, the largemouth might be stopped. Please visit: www.vanderkloofdam.co.za to sign the petition or leave comments.
    Dirk Human

    Flyfishing for yellows...the most fun a man can have, with his clothes on, while standing up, holding a bar of gold in your hands.

  2. #2
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    Wow, South African's have an amazing capacity to F**k things up. i don't think the words "sustainable" & "netting" should appear in the same sentence. Shame on Rhodes, hopefully FOSAF yellowfish working group and pick up on this?
    ---------------------------------------------
    http://wildjohannesburg.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    I might be throwing a cat….wait no a tiger into the chicken’s nest here, but a friend asked me a very interesting question. You all know the famous Gariep dam hatchery where largemouth yellows were succesfully bred by Pierre de Villiers and Free State Conservation many years ago? Well it is now a Chinese funded hatchery breeding mostly alien species that is fast growing for sustainable foodsource. I just wonder….. might the Vanderkloof netting also have a “made in china” connection???
    (p.s. I have no proof, I’m just speculating)
    Dirk Human

    Flyfishing for yellows...the most fun a man can have, with his clothes on, while standing up, holding a bar of gold in your hands.

  4. #4
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    I was there over Christmas period and talked to a few of the Chinese people running the show. I was told they were netting huge quantities of fish mainly carp and yellows and exporting them to China. There were no breeding of any species at the facility. They have an agreement with the SA government apparently. Fish in exchange for W.H.U

  5. #5
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    There is something going on in the Orange lower down as well who knows....
    Gerrit Viljoen

  6. #6
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    Doesn't surprise me, these same "sustainable fishing" practices applied to other stillwaters have resulted in uncontrolled, government sanctioned AND funded destruction of the fish populations and the angling potential. This happened on a stillwater literally busting at the seams with all manner of fish, not only Yellowfish and in under two years, there were hardly fish left, as observed during spawning times.
    "Hierdie drol het baie vlieë" - Ago 2014.

  7. #7
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    This irritates the snot out of me, VDK is fantastic in that pollution is not really a threat, and fishing pressure not really an issue given the dams size and the need for a boat. The only risk really would be netting which shouldn't be an issue given the lack of settlements around the dam. I hadn't factored in govt sponsored netting! Why don't they rather issue permits for netting on the vast majority of our dams that are infested with exotics? As pointed out above they grow a lot quicker so it would be more sustainable.
    @#$%$

  8. #8
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    The Vaaldam, Vaal River have been infested with Grass Carp, I wonder why they dont net that???????????????
    Any person knows of Grass Carp in the Orange system above VDK dam?
    I know at the confluence of Orange and Vaal, there are monster Grass Carp populations and size wise as well.
    Thru a proper program, they could get the locals to clean the river off the grass carp, but no, it has to be the SM and LM yellows????????
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  9. #9
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    I spoke to someone in the conservation circles and it seems a report was done in the 80's by then two fish specalists that said Vanderkloof could yield 75-100 tons of smallmouth yellows a year....so this ^*&^^%% has been brewing some time it seems....
    Dirk Human

    Flyfishing for yellows...the most fun a man can have, with his clothes on, while standing up, holding a bar of gold in your hands.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbus13 View Post
    Vanderkloof could yield 75-100 tons of smallmouth yellows a year
    For what purpose???
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

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