In the latest Saving Sandfish film, Koning Vannie Doring (‘King of the Doring River’), Dr. Jeremy Shelton and Dr. Otto Whitehead showcase some spectacular, trophy-size Clanwilliam yellowfish and Clanwilliam sandfish in the Doring River in the Cederberg mountains, caught as part of a scientific survey conducted along the length of the river. However, the excitement (of catching these big specimens) is limited and overshadowed by the overwhelming number of alien predatory fish species (smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish – all introduced from North America as part of the sport fishing interests of mankind) that they caught in their fyke nets compared to previous surveys.
Reality, as we know it, is harsh, and this movie shows the viewer just how badly the natural habitat of our indigenous fish has deteriorated (by mainly: overextraction of water, building of dam walls, and the introduction of alien predatory fish) over decades – keep an eye out for a future blog on this subject, called The Silver Bullet.
There is hope though! For instance, the scientists and volunteers working on the Saving Sandfish project (spearheaded by scientists from the Freshwater Research Centre) have caught 33 391 baby sandfish from a stretch of the Biedouw River that dries up annually, in their attempts to rescue the species since 2020 – read more about that HERE. As a fly fisher, you can be a proud supporter of Saving Sandfish by donating money directly to this project on the FRC website, or by being a member of FOSAF (FOSAF has been a sponsor of Saving Sandfish since 2020).