FOSAF NEWS - FOSAF's response to the DEA's Media Release of 07/03/2018 by Ilan Lax

 

MEDIA RELEASE - THE FEDERATION OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN FLY FISHERS (FOSAF)

IN RESPONSE TO THE MEDIA RELEASE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS DATED 7 MARCH 2018

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs must withdraw the notices proposing amendments to the NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species Regulations and Lists because they are not in compliance with section 100 of NEMBA or face possible court action.

This is the warning issued by the Federation of Southern African Fly Fishers' Mr Ilan Lax and other interested and affected stakeholders following a recent press release from the Department of Environmental Affairs seeking to reassure the trout value chain that they have nothing to worry about.

Not so says Mr Lax.  The media release is very misleading for among other reasons, the following:

  •  Trout are not in fact invasive as the term applies in law. The assurances given by DEA in its press release are even contradicted by the proposed amendments.
  • The truth is that landowners are currently obliged to eradicate listed invasive species where possible.
  • The constant restocking of trout waters on which the trout value chain relies is incompatible with this.
  • Permits can only be issued if the risk of harm is negligible which begs the question: If DEA intends permitting trout, why they are being listed invasive in the first place.
  • Permits can only be issued to the landowner who must first commission a detailed and expensive risk assessment.
  • Permits can only be issued for a maximum of ten years rather than the 40 years DEA promises in its press release. 

Despite lawful requests by many stakeholders for sufficient information reasonably necessary in order to enable members of the public to respond in an informed manner, DEA continues to provide often conflicting and misleading information around the proposed draft regulations and lists but has failed to do so lawfully.  The proper information should have accompanied the notices.

One of the big problems the trout value chain has faced when dealing with DEA is that it tends to ignore the law in favour of the narrow biocentric approach adopted by South Africa's invasion ecologists.  This has resulted in a disconnect between what the Constitution and the law requires and what DEA wants to do.  The lack of proper policy to guide lawful implementation compounds this problem.

FOSAF has made every effort to engage with DEA with a view to finding solutions.  This was achieved at the Phakisa Ocean Labs Conference that took place in July 2014.  A number of practical solutions were agreed. The main one being that with the exception of certain protected areas, trout would not be declared invasive where they presently occur.  However DEA unilaterally reneged on this agreement in June last year.  FOSAF remains committed to finding solutions.

FOSAF and other interested and affected stakeholders will be writing to the Minister requesting the withdrawal of the notices early next week.

Ilan Lax 

Chairman FOSAF

7 March 2018

For a detailed response to the issues raised: click here

 

 

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