Fishing for trout at Dalcrue Dam in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Stephenie Schutte
  • Last year, government gazetted plans to add rainbow and brown trout to South Africa's invasive species list.
  • This would have put restrictions on all activities to do with trout, and triggered outrage and legal action from the fly-fishing industry.   
  • It has now decided to leave trout off the list "until further notice". 
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Amid pressure from South Africa’s trout industry and fly-fishing community, government has backed down on plans to add trout to the invasive species list.

Last year, it gazetted a new list, which included rainbow and brown trout. This would have enforced strict restrictions on anything to do with the fish.

Permits would have to be required for a long list of activities, including breeding, selling or even moving or gifting trout. A permit would even be needed to throw away the water where trout were kept.

According to a report in Landbouweekblad, the permits could only be issued by the minister – and not by provincial authorities.

The publication reported that the Federation of South African Flyfishers (Fosaf) launched legal action against the plans, and that other industry bodies also objected with Barbara Creecy, minister of forestry and fisheries and environmental affairs.

They contended that the new measures would do great harm to the R1.8 billion flyfishing industry in South Africa, arguing in addition that trout were first introduced to South Africa more than a century ago, and its environmental impact is limited.

At the end of last month, Creecy issued a new gazette, specifying that the inclusion of rainbow trout and brown trout “shall not come into effect until further notice”.

But Fosaf is pushing ahead with its legal action, and told Landbouweekblad this week that the department did not follow the procedures required by law to add trout to the invasive species list.

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