*This letter was sent to every one of the 9 Provincial Nature Conservation Departments.

Attention the Director.

I have been involved with various facets of angling in many capacities for a very long time and come into contact with them on a regular basis. I also have my own website www.fishingowl.co.za

There are many perceptions regarding angling licenses in freshwater some correct some incorrect and I feel that the matter should be sorted out.

Some of the perceptions are as follows;

  1. Why should I buy so many licenses to fish venues so close to each other. For example someone used to have to buy one license to fish the Transvaal.
  2. what licenses are needed and for what waters.
  3. what happens to the money and how does the angler benefit.
  4. what Provinces actually have fisheries officers.
  5. what is being done about all the gill netting.
  6. when does one ever see any form of policing of the waters.
  7. what Provinces have an up to date easy to understand practical non-conflicting ordinance drafted in a language that one can understand?
  8. where does one get a license. For example someone staying in the North West Province wanting to go down to Josini dam for a weekends fishing?

I can go on and on. It is a fact of life that when you have a breakdown in communication, you have confusion which leads to confrontation.

I suggest the following;

  1. The different Provincial bodies get together and settle on one freshwater angling license with a common ordinance drafted on the "keep it simple" principle in a language easily understood by the many people whose first language is not English. In other words cut out the "legalese"
  2. the license can be purchased at any post office throughout the country and all monies then go into a special fund and dispersed specifically for fishery management directly to the nature conservation divisions on an equitable basis relative to the amount of water falling under their control. A lot of conservation departments have been combined with an agricultural aspect and some of this money could be used for the establishment of sustainable small scale fish farming operations with the obvious benefits to the country.

Angling is one of the most popular recreational / sport in the country and contributes to the benefit of the economy and job creation. The latter is a subjective statement and it is imperative that a reputable marketing organization be employed to ascertain exactly how the economy benefits in every respect and not only fishing tackle sales but local manufacturing, internal and external tourism etc. etc.

For example the catching of carp (which is an exotic in S.A.) is a billion pound industry in the U.K. and we have British carp anglers coming to S.A. to catch them as well as the catfish

Angling is a bloodsport and there is opposition in some countries to this type of practice usually by people who make a living out of fighting soft targets in other words non-pragmatic so called conservationists who have no concept whatsoever of the human social implications of their actions.

If the various conservation departments can rid themselves of the parochialism that has existed and are prepared to put together copy pics etc. of what the angler needs to know I am prepared to flight it on my website free of charge. This will also obviate your staff spending time answering anglers questions.

There has been a lot of hype and "get rich kids" involved in the Internet but sense is slowly starting to prevail and the Internet will become the information and educational highway of the future albeit at a much slower pace. Already non-angling youngsters are starting to use the site for their school projects which is encouraging because after all the basis of conservation is education.

My website is a labour of love and has been going for over 3 years and 16 percent of the hits come from overseas. The site foundation is only about a quarter complete and once the basics are up it will then become more topical. Your comments in the guestbook would be appreciated, because it gives me an indication as to whether I am headed in the right direction.

Trusting that his letter is treated in the spirit in which it is intended.

I remain,

Yours faithfully

Trevor Babich.

e-Mail trevorb@fishingowl.co.za

Gauteng Nature Conservation
Western Cape Nature Conservation Board
Limpopo Provice
North West
Northern Cape
Eastern Cape
Free State