The Vanderkloof dam has been overflowing due to excessive rainfall in the region since the beginning of April 2022. As a result, inland fishers have had to forgo their primary livelihood activities in order to secure an income.
April and June are the peak fishing months for the Vanderkloof dam. Inland fishers from Luckhoff, Petrusville and Keurtjieskloof depend on the Vanderkloof dam to catch fish for their livelihood through kraals, or line fishing.
Harvesting fish from the kraals largely depends on the ebb and flow of the water at the dam. When the turbines of the dam open they cause the fish to be washed into the fish kraals.
When the Vanderkloof dam overflowed, fishers were unable to access the kraals due to the high-water level covering the entrapment. This made it made it difficult to capture fish and secure a livelihood.
The Luckhoff fishers therefore came together and discussed how they can make an alternative income, as they could not depend on fishing at the dam during this time. They decided to sell wood to the community as an alternative livelihood.
Johannez Cotzee, inland small-scale fisherman from Luckhoff, explains how they came up with idea to sell wood and how it aided the fishing community during that time,
“Sometimes we experience difficulties, one of those difficulties was when the dam started overflowing. There was no real income for us. The fishers then came together and we came to the agreement that we should gather and cut wood and then sell it and from that we can earn a sort of income that can help us put food on our tables and we did it. In Luckhoff, we have an influx of wood, so the plan worked out.”