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What's happening in Resource Management

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I’ve mentioned Compensatory Growth (CG) earlier as it’s a fascinating subject. Herewith some further info – If you want the whole article, you have to purchase it.


Catch-and-release angling is gaining popularity worldwide and plays an increasingly important role in both fisheries management and conservation. Mortality from catch-and-release angling is well documented across species, but the sublethal effects have not been evaluated in a natural setting. Laboratory studies have yielded mixed results regarding catch-and-release impacts on fish growth. These studies do not adequately capture the scales of stress and variability of a natural system. We used a 27-year mark–recapture study of 1050 individually tagged largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) to determine the effects of catch-and-release angling on the growth in a natural setting. Individual bass were angled one to six times per season. Recapture intervals ranged from 1 to 98 days. Largemouth bass exhibited a post-release period (~6 days) of weight loss. Following this weight loss, we observed a subsequent period of compensatory growth facilitating recovery to normal weight. We found that catch-and-release angling had little impact on the overall seasonal growth patterns of largemouth bass and therefore should have limited adverse effects on growth-dependent ecological functions.

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2012, 69(2): 224-230, 10.1139/f2011-150

This doesn't mean that stunted fish don't have the ability of CG once conditions become more favourable.

Would like to know what happened at the meeting about Theewaters?
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To add to this thread, I gleamed a bit of info from a fish farm in New York State (USA) on their suggested bass pond management. Makes for interesting reading:

Most types of ponds will support a bass population as long as a few simple rules are observed.

Bass should be stocked at a rate of 75-100 fish per acre ( 175 to 250 per hectare) along with a forage fish. We recommend fathead minnows and/or crayfish. The minnows should be stocked at a rate of no less than 1000 per acre (2500/ha) and a rate of 5000-10,000 per acre is ideal. The crayfish should be stocked at a rate of at least 400-500 per acre. These numbers should be increased if there is already an established bass population in the pond. With the exception of black crappie we do not recommend sunfish, such as bluegill, (this is very interesting) as a forage fish in northern regions. Because of the short growing season for bass in the north they are not able to keep up with much more prolific sunfish. Eventually the sunfish will take over the pond without intense management. Crappie do not spawn as prolifically as other sunfish so therefore it's easier for the bass to keep their numbers in check. Yellow perch may be another option as a second forage fish although they have been known to take over a pond now and again. Crappies and/or perch are a great option if you enjoy ice fishing.

A bass requires 8 lb. of live food to gain 1 lb. of body weight. Therefore, we emphasize the importance of a good forage fish population. When stocking a bass pond with a forage fish it is EXTREMELY important that they have cover to breed and hide in, such as grass, cattails, weeds, etc. It is so important, in fact, that a substantial portion of your pond should be dedicated to forage fish cover and reproduction. If your pond is clean some thought should be given to providing some type of artificial cover. Brush, old Christmas trees, or piles of flat rocks all work well. We recommend 50-100 old Christmas trees per acre. Often times tree farms need to cull out inferior trees and you may be able to get them cheap or even free if you are willing to take them off their hands. Cover for the forage fish should be concentrated in the shallower areas of your pond, no deeper than 4 or 5 feet of water. The more emphasis you put on cover for your forage fish the better balanced your pond will be. If your pond water is clear this is an indication that there is little photoplankton and zooplankton for the forage fish to feed on. This being the case you should fertilize the pond. There are several different organic materials which can be used. Some examples are hay, soybean meal, distillers, and cow, horse or sheep manure. Recommended quantities per acre are: 200lbs. of hay; 100 lbs. of soybean or distillers; or 300 lbs. of manure.

Largemouth bass do not naturally take a commercial fish pellet, however, all of the largemouth bass that you purchase from us are trained to feed on a pellet. Therefore, if you would like to augment their diet this way you will get increased growth and your forage base will last longer. You could choose to do this by either hand feeding or with an automatic fish feeder. Pound for pound pellet feeding is the cheapest growth you can get on your fish. We do not suggest relying solely on pellet feeding, however, as you will not be able to feed them during the winter months and once they spawn the babies will not take a commercial feed.

Attention needs to be paid to bass habitat as well. They need to have places to hide and feel secure just like the forage fish. Bass like to hang out around larger structures in the deeper sections of your pond. Piles of logs, rock piles and piles of old tires all work well but almost anything can be used. Structure could be built out of PVC pipe or old scrap metal welded together, even old car frames. You don't need to spend a lot of money just use your imagination.

Largemouth and smallmouth do not cohabitate well so different factors should be considered when deciding which is best for your situation. Smallmouth bass do better in cooler and deeper ponds and are much more active in cooler water so they can be fished through the ice. They do not reproduce as quickly as largemouth, therefore, if the pond is not going to be fished heavily smallmouth may be a good choice. Also, if other fish are going to be introduced into the pond, then a smaller fish can be stocked as smallmouth do not grow quite as large as a largemouth and have a smaller mouth, thus cutting down on predation.

Once bass and forage fish have been established in a pond little additional stocking should be required, other than additional fathead minnows occasionally. Heavy fishing will not hurt, in fact, once a bass pond is established fishing is your best management tool but no fishing should be done while the fish are on their spawning beds. For smallmouth this is usually from May 1-May 20 (depending on water temp., which needs to be 60 degrees) and for largemouth, from May 20-June 15 (water temp. at 65 degrees). This is the Northern Hemisphere!!

If you're looking for another fish to stock with your bass we highly recommend channel catfish. They don't really compete with the bass, grow very large, are fun to catch and are really good to eat.

Care should be taken when purchasing bass as they are a regional fish. Bass from warmer climates will not do well in NYS waters and will be stunted. Be sure your fingerlings are of northern brood stock.
Any feed back on the Theewaters/Eikenhof issue?
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“Prior to 1993, freshwater angling in South Africa had been governed by the respective nature conservation legislation of the four South African provinces, the four “independent homelands" and the six so-called Bantustans. In 1993 a South Africa with nine provinces was created, of which only Limpopo and Mpumalanga promulgated its own laws governing freshwater angling. From 2008 angling for listed threatened and protected freshwater fish species has been regulated by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, supplemented by the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations. In addition, it is anticipated that the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, which will regulate angling for listed alien and invasive freshwater fish, will be promulgated in the near future. The result is that freshwater angling is currently being governed by a plethora of pre-1993 provincial, homeland and Bantustan legislation, two post-1993 provincial acts, as well as post-1993 national legislation. In this dissertation the South African freshwater angling legislative framework was critically analysed. It was found that the multitude of fragmented and complex laws, created 15 “angling provinces” which leads to confusion amongst anglers and government officials alike. In the process legal certainty and reasonableness, cornerstones of a sound legal system, are being compromised, indigenous freshwater fish are not adequately protected and alien or invasive freshwater fish are not properly managed. In the light of the above, and after taking comments by anglers and enforcement officials into account, recommendations are made for an improved legislative framework for freshwater in South Africa. It is recommended that all freshwater fish species be managed and/or protected on a catchment basis, as opposed to the current provincial basis. This will ensure legal certainty and reasonableness and that all indigenous freshwater fish which are subject to the similar threats are protected adequately and uniformly.”

There are many Government projects on-going such as Working on Water, Working on Fire, Working on Waste, Working for the Coast, Working for Land and Working for Wetlands but nowhere is there an initiative on Working for Fish – if there is a funded programme, please highlight me to this!

What we can’t see and what doesn’t benefit poor communities in this country is not considered newsworthy and no money is siphoned off into the bottomless bucket! Thus, besides a few dedicated scientists, we as recreational anglers are on our own and not even our various affiliation organisations have dedicated any effort into the resource and its future – check the websites!

Cape Nature and Dean Impson have produced some worthwhile reading if you are interested:
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If anyone is feeling prejudiced, prove me wrong, it would be a most WELCOME change.
Any news on this topic?
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PDV - the wheels of democracy and transparency, they are slow to make the news unfortunately.
There are many in the day to day yourselves here boys! :blue-exclaim:
Here's a recent development from our much respected bass fishing scientist:

SAIAB News » Seminar: Dr Olaf Weyl: History, status and management of black bass (Micropterus) species in South Africa

South Africa has a long history of non-native sport fish introductions because native fish faunas contained few species that had sport fishing potential. After the successful introduction of trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss and Salmo trutta) in the 1890s, four Micropterus species were introduced to create angling opportunities in warmer lowland rivers and impoundments. Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), spotted bass (M. punctulatus), smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu) and Florida bass (M. floridanus) were imported between 1928 and 1980.

Introductions were very successful and most river basins now contain at least one Micropterus species. In slower flowing rivers and in many reservoirs they often dominate fish communities.

This resulted in the development of a vibrant sport fishery that, through associated expenditure, contributes significantly to the South African economy. The South African recreational bass fishery is almost identical to that in the USA including formal ties between the South African Bass Angling Association and the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society in the USA.

Bass are, however, a major threat to aquatic biodiversity in South Africa because their predation on and competition with native fishes and invertebrates, has impacted negatively on aquatic community structure and has fragmented native fish populations. Bass are therefore specifically listed in the 2004 National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act as requiring management. Implementation measures include import and movement controls and eradication from conservation priority areas.

The talk will focus on
•an overview of Micropterus introductions, impacts and fisheries in South Africa with emphasis on existing and evolving legislation
•conflicts, implementation strategies and the sometimes innovative approaches that have been used to prioritise conservation areas and manage bass populations in South Africa.

Venue: Lecture Room, Department of Ichthyology & Fisheries Science (DIFS)

Date: Thursday, 27 February 2014

Time: 3.30pm

I will try get some feedback at a later stage.
Understanding South Africa's Bass Population, by Olaf Weyl and printed in SA Bass July 2011:

On of the most in depth articles on this subject:

The use of water resources for inland fisheries in South Africa

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The references provide a valuable tool in links if you want to do a bit of research. Download the article in pdf on the right.
Three national departments bear responsibility for inland fishery management, visibly the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) in respect of access to public dams, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in concert with the provincial environmental agencies, and the recently created Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), which has not yet formulated any policy on its mandate in respect of inland fisheries.

We are all aware of the current draft NEM:BA regulations but considering that DAFF is partly responsible for Inland Fishery Management, and then considering the current status of this department, here:

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Perhaps we should be more concerned..................
There has been some happening:


Findings of the baseline and scoping study on freshwater inland fisheries:
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Hi Rip, do you have a bullet point summary of what this means?
Scoping Study on the Development and Sustainable Utilisation of Inland Fisheries in South Africa
Volume 1:
Research Report
PJ Britz1, MM Hara2, OLF Weyl3, BN Tapela2 and QA Rouhani1
1. Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University
2. Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape
3. South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity
WRC Report No TT 615/1/14
ISBN No xxx-x-xxxx-xxxx-xxx
January 2015


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