Masifundise took its first small steps into the world of fresh water fisheries when a two Masifundise staff embarked on a visit Vanderkloof Dam outside Orania this week.

Field worker Michelle Joshua and communication consultant Mansoor Jaffer met with a range of stakeholders discussing a government proposal that explores the potential of fishing in the dam for livelihoods and poverty alleviation.

The government’s announcement of an experimentation project has stirred some controversy with a powerful lobby of recreational fishers claiming that the fish resource was under threat.

The proponents of the project, the government and other stakeholders, say that from their observations, there is fish in abundance.

However, there has been no recent scientific research done and so claims of abundance or scarcity are largely anectodal.

In a separate matter, small-scale fishers are being blocked from kraal fishing near the dam wall, because it is located in a security zone. Fishers have been arrested inside and outside the zone for either trespassing or fishing illegally.

The kraal fishing, which entails building a safe area surrounded by rocks, is an ancient Khoisan method. Mealies are placed in the space and when the water rises, the fish head there to feed. When the sluice gates close, the water rapidly drops and the fish are trapped in the kraal.

Masifundise supports the rights of small-scale fishers to sustainable livelihoods.

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