27 November 2009


10H00 Koedoesdraai Conservancy


Pierre de Villiers welcomed everyone present and thanked them for attending. He emphasized that the participation of private individuals as well as officials from all the relevant Government Departments was crucial to the success and sustainability of the conservation programme.



Hermien Roux   NWDACERD  0824665966

Andre Hoffman  Wag-n-bietjie 0828267076

George Nel        DWA             0828755707

Colin Sharp       DWA WfW     0829008107

Daan Buys        NWDACERD   0833202727

Peter Mills        YWG/FOSAF  0825557472

Peter Arderne    YWG/FOSAF  011-8823051

(Debbie Sharp) DWA WfW      0826117157 (0824621584)

Gordon O’Brien UJ



Dirk Human

Warrin Flores

Siyabonga Buthelezi

Ramogale Sekwele



These were accepted as a fair reflection of the matters dealt with at the previous meeting. The chairperson stated that if any mistake was noted during the meeting or after the meeting, this could be emailed to him. This was agreed to by all present.



It was agreed that any matters arising would be dealt with under the associated agenda points. The agenda points had been created to address issues that needed discussion. This was accepted by all present. It was accepted that this would also assist in reducing the time taken for the meeting. Several members had long distances to travel after the meeting.



The agenda was accepted. The chairperson noted that if any additional points came up during the discussions they could be added to the agenda during the course of the meeting. This was agreed to by all present.



7.1 Areas

7.1 Vaal Dam to Barrage

It was noted that there is a Vaal River Fish Kill study funded by DWA taking place in this section of the Vaal River. The University of Johannesberg is carrying out the work. The trend is that with an increase in flow there is an associated increase in sediment. There is also a decrease in temperature. These factors seem to contribute to fish kills. Fish died in Bloemhof Dam in October 2009. Gordon O’Brien provided details of the research programme. DTEEA –FS assisted with this work at Bloemhof Dam (Dr. Pierre Nel).

It was noted that the Carp Angling World Championships took place in Bleomhof Dam. This involves catch-weigh-and-release processes. Damaged fish could have died later.

It was noted that some small crocodiles have been seen in the Vaal River at the Barrage. These have probably escaped from crocodile farms or are escaped “pets”.


7.2 Barrage to Schoemansdrift

This area downstream to Parys was included in the above fish kill study.

It was noted that there is a planned development of a Hotel on the island at Parys. This needs to be taken up with the Municipality by DTEEA –FS and NWDACE. The sewerage effluent produced by this development could be a problem in the future if it is not dealt with properly.


7.3 Scheomansdrift to Orkney

It was noted that Colin Sharp from WfW was working in the following four areas downstream to Warrenton. He provided a presentation on the DWA WfW Water Hyacinth Control/Management Programme. This needs to be a focused well planned and managed programme. The programme involves working in the Vaal River which flows through the Gauteng, Free State, North West and Northern Cape Provinces.


The programme includes spraying the large concentrations of Water Hyacinth with Glycophosphate solution which has no measured effect on aquatic fauna at a 2% concentration. It also includes the managed release and monitoring of bio-control agents onto the Water Hyacinth plants.


In general there are high concentrations of this plant where the nutrient levels in the water are high. During the high flow periods the Water Hyacinth is flushed from the system but due to the high nutrient concentrations in the water in the Vaal River this plant quickly establishes itself again. Water Hyacinth management is an ongoing long term programme in the Vaal River. It was noted that Colin Sharp was carry out critical work and was managing a highly successful control programme. This effective management needed to continue into the future.


For more details please contact Colin Sharp or Debbie Sharp directly.


7.4 Orkney to Leeudoringstad

Andre Hoffman reported that during September 2009 all the land owners in his area met to discuss farm security. The land owners were really interested in the River Ranger concept as many did not live on the farms and needed some form of compliance monitoring along the river. A formal way forward will be sorted out in January 2010.


Andre Hoffman reported on the Rose Festiville which had been arranged in association with Anglo Gold Ashanti. A presentation on the activities of the Association took place and a flyfishing demonstration was provided to the public. Tickets were sold for R10 and the prizes were a fly rod, and weekend at Wag-n-bietjie and a fly box. R920.00 was raised.  This was a successful marketing campaign for the Association – thank you Andre. This type of active participation from an area manager was much appreciated by all. Without this type of initiative very little progress with regards to the conservation of Yellowfish and their associated habitat would be made.


7.5 Leeudoringstad to Bloemhof

No report.


7.6 Bloemhof to Warrenton

No report.


7.7 Warrenton to Orange River

No report. Dirk Human could not attend so no reporting on the Yellowfish Conservation initiative in the Northern Cape could be made.


7.8 Upper Orange River (above van der Kloof Dam)

No report.


7.9 Lower Orange River

Pierre de Villiers reported that he planned to visit the Orange River Estuary early in 2010. He would report back on this visit during the next meeting.


7.10 Western Cape

It was noted that the Western Cape Yellowfish Working Group was being revived again. This is good news as there is a great deal of private sector capacity and support for Yellowfish Conservation in the Western Cape. Additional staff will be employed by CapeNature to address freshwater issues in the Western Cape. The aim is to have three positions.



7.2 Financial matters and management

Pierre de Villiers stated that the bank account is now effective empty. Members needed to really become resourceful in identifying funding opportunities. A generic funding request needed to be developed so that this could be sent out to possible funders. Pierre will send the request for sponsorship of a River ranger position to Anglo Gold Ashanti.


7.3 Awareness programme

7.3.1 Marketing and the Yellowfish Conservation Association web page/google site

The possibility of a web page in addition to the google option will be investigated.


7.3.2 Information boards

Dirk Human needs to develop the design of the new board and get quotes for the board. These quotes can be sent to Kobus Fourie from the Wind knot Club as well as Debbie Sharp from WfW. Pierre will follow up on this.


Kobus Fourie may also know where the large mount of the Largemouth Yellowfish is. It is important that this mount is used for awareness programmes.


7.3.3 Magnetic and normal stickers

These have been distributed to members. Stickers have been placed on a fleet of vehicles of a courier company. This provides a massive amount of marketing.


7.3.4 Service Awards for Harvey Venter, Dries Visser and Piet Hoffman

Pierre de Villiers will follow up on the design of these awards. The possibility of wooded and glass options will be investigated.



7.4 Monitoring and compliance

7.4.1 Compliance programme issues

Werner Boing from the DTEEA - FS Monitoring and Compliance section is sent these minutes. The FS is continuously involved with compliance operations in the Vredefort Dome area. This programme may be expanded downstream if the Association can provide evidence of problems.


7.4.2 Barrage Pollution Working Group

Rand Water is heading this Working Group. The appropriate manager needs to be invited to the Association meetings. Gordon O’Brien attends these meetings and will make sure the minutes are sent to the appropriate Rand Water manager.


7.4.3 Vaal River Ecological Reserve update

The Reserve study for the Middle Vaal River has been completed. A report should be completed in 2010.



7.5 Research

Summaries of these studies are attached as an appendix to these minutes. During the associated discussions a new conservation phrase was identified by Andre Hoffman and accepted by those present: Catch-revive-and-release. This is particularly important for large fish that take time to bring in. A document explaining this reviving process needs to be developed.


It was also noted that the NEM:PA makes provision for a Protected Environment. Aquatic Conservation Areas need this type of protection. Pierre mentioned that he had proposed this to DEAT National during the first NBSAP process. They managers at the time felt that this was too “out of the box” to think about or to implement. It will be the way aquatic systems are conserved in the future.


NEM:BA makes provision for the declaration of Protected Species and identifies the need to Protected Species Management plans. The Largemouth Yellowfish is a Protected Species and therefore requires are conservation plan. A template for a Species management Plan is being developed by the WRC. The actual conservation actions on the ground will be based on lessons learned during the setting up and managing of the OVRYCMA.


7.5.1 Telemetry

This serves to update all of you on the progress made in the yellowfish behavioural study being undertaken through the Endangered Wildlife Trust in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg.  The study is being undertaken from Elgro Lodge and includes two study areas namely the 25km reach from Schoemansdrift weir to “De Wets” (Reach 1) and a 7km reach close to Parys (Reach 2).  To date this the 3rd phase of the study involves 14 Largemouth and 1 smallmouth yellowfish that were tagged, allowed to recover for at least 4 weeks and are currently being monitored by two students from North West University who are being supervised by myself in Potchefstroom.  Phase 1&2 findings are available for comment but will only be written up (early 2010) with the outcomes of this the 3rd phase.


As of the end of October in this phase we have obtained over 120 fixes of fish moving in the study area including data from two 24hr studies. 90% of this data has been obtained from the 8 fish located in Reach 1 prior to the beginning of October.  During October confirmations that at least 2 transmitters have either come off of tagged Largemouth or the individuals have died have been obtained within this reach and now an additional 4 individuals have left the study area (2 suspected upstream over Schoemens drift - named Mrs. Robertson and Fourie) and 2 down stream past De Wets namely Skaars and Alley cat).  Extensive monitoring has been carried out on the Smallmouth during the current spawning season.  Only one indication that the Largemouth may be spawning was obtained two weeks ago (an angler caught a Largemouth that was shedding eggs) but this has not been confirmed.  We still believe that the spawning period for this species is still coming.


At this time we need to find the AWOL fish that have left Reach 1 and will be directing attention to the Reach 2 where tagged fish are still being found readily.  Plans are to fly early next week 2nd or 3rd of November and then direct monitoring efforts accordingly.  On Saturday the 31st I will attempt to find some of the tagged individuals around Parys and look for access points etc to monitor the 6 tagged individuals in this reach. 


Way forward:


I would like to host a specialist workshop early in the new year in the study area (Potch area) for specialists working on fish behavioural studies interested in commenting on this work if you are interested please let me know so that I can start planning a workshop (probably in February 2010).


At the moment I think that after the completion of the 2009/10 spawning period I will have sufficient information to write up this study however a student here from the Northwest University has shown interest in continuing to monitor the tagged individuals for the rest of 2010 (tags will remain active for at least another year).


7.5.2 Socio-economic study

This has been completed and has been submitted to the WRC.


7.5.3 Early development of Smallmouth Yellowfish and Largemouth Yellowfish

This is being written up in the form of a WRC Publication.


7.5.4 Age and growth of Smallmouth and Largemouth Yellowfish

This is being written up in the form of a WRC Publication.


7.6. Information management

7.6.1 Membership information and ID cards

Andre Hoffman submitted additional membership forms. Pierre de Villiers noted that the data base was being kept up to date but no additional cards have been printed. This was basically a time issues. The forms submitted during the period that the data base was managed by Johan Hardy have gone missing. Pierre will attempt to identify which land owners forms were lost. They were people in the area managed by Andre Hoffman.


      7.7 General

7.7.1 Wonderfontein Mine

It was reported that there is possible Uranium contamination caused by the Wonderfontein Mine. Remedial action is planned and the process is outlined on the following webpage:


Mines need to pay for this remedial action.


Gerhard Cilliers from DWA:RQS should be invited to the next meeting.


  1. Next meeting

The meetings for 2010 were planned as follows:

12 March

14 May

13 August

08 October


  1. Closure

Pierre thanked everyone for participating. He thanked Andre Hoffman for his hospitality. The meeting was closed.