Editor's February Letter
South Africa’s hottest month is upon us and with it, comes an array of warm water species that help break a sweat and get the heart pumping.
The controversial legislation protecting the copper steenbras (deleting it from the permitted species list and making it a prohibited species) was gazetted recently and has caused much debate, with both sides taking to the various forums to state their case.
At RSD, we have taken sides and, as usual, it is with the fish. It is time we as anglers take responsibility for our resource – yes, many anglers who are against the ban are conservation-conscious anglers who want the right to keep one fish for the pan; unfortunately, these anglers are far outweighed by the so called ‘recreational commercial’ who has continued to plunder this slow-growing, territorial, endemic species for profit and greed.
The protecting of this species, although it will not stop poaching completely, will go a long way to killing the marketability of this fish and perhaps, if there is a black market, this will be largely reduced. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of this book before they put a ban on other species such as black steenbras, kob and geelbek. As individuals, you can report to relevant authorities any poaching, the illegal sale or buying of fish or any over-exploitation of our stocks; as clubs and associations, write rules into your constitutions – launching rules etc that ostracise and punish anglers who flaunt the law. In this way, we can all do our part to protect our fish stocks for future generations.
With that in mind, we will be following up with the relevant parties and reporting back on the fight against the plunder of our stocks.
Enjoy this month’s read and remember: limit your catch, don’t catch your limit!