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South Africa Issues Plan to Protect Clanwilliam Sandfish

07 April 2016

SOUTH AFRICA - Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has published the Biodiversity Management Plan for the Clanwilliam sandfish (Labeo Seeberi).

The plan was published in Government Gazette No. 39899 (Notice 406 of 2016) for implementation on 1 April. The gazetting of the Biodiversity Management Plan is in line with the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004).

The Clanwilliam sandfish is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data List and by South Africa’s Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) as endangered.

The species faces an extremely high risk of extinction and is therefore subject to the restrictions imposed by national legislation regarding its removal from the wild, trade and use. Conservation initiatives aimed at protecting populations of the two larger cyprinids (fish species) in the catchment, namely the Clanwilliam yellowfish and sawfin, are being implemented.

However, these initiatives are not aimed at securing populations of Clanwilliam sandfish, despite the fact that it ranks as one of the most threatened species in the Western Cape and has been identified as a high conservation priority by the Northern and Western Cape conservation authorities.

Adult populations of this species are restricted to the northern reaches of the Doring River and successfully recruiting populations are known to occur only in confined reaches of the Oorlogskloof-Koebee River system in the Northern and Western Cape.

Responsibility for the conservation and management of the sandfish is shared by the conservation authorities in the Western and Northern Cape, including the province’s municipalities and private landowners impacting on the aquatic habitat of the species.

Private landowners, through conservancies and stewardship programmes, are expected to manage land and water resources in a manner consistent with national environmental legislation and to adhere to the restrictions imposed on the movement and introduction of alien invasive species.

An electronic copy of the Biodiversity Management Plan can be downloaded from the link: https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/nemba_bmp-s_clanwilliamsandfish_g39899_gon406.pdf. – SAnews.gov.za

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