A critical review of the South African freshwater angling legislative framework
Prior to 1993, freshwater angling in South Africa had been governed by the respective nature conservation legislation of the four South African provinces, the four “independent homelands" and the six so-called Bantustans. In 1993 a South Africa with nine provinces was created, of which only Limpopo and Mpumalanga promulgated its own laws governing freshwater angling. From 2008 angling for listed threatened and protected freshwater fish species has been regulated by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, supplemented by the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations. In addition, it is anticipated that the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, which will regulate angling for listed alien and invasive freshwater fish, will be promulgated in the near future. The result is that freshwater angling is currently being governed by a plethora of pre-1993 provincial, homeland and Bantustan legislation, two post-1993 provincial acts, as well as post-1993 national legislation. In this dissertation the South African freshwater angling legislative framework was critically analysed. It was found that the multitude of fragmented and complex laws, created 15 “angling provinces” which leads to confusion amongst anglers and government officials alike. In the process legal certainty and reasonableness, cornerstones of a sound legal system, are being compromised, indigenous freshwater fish are not adequately protected and alien or invasive freshwater fish are not properly managed. In the light of the above, and after taking comments by anglers and enforcement officials into account, recommendations are made for an improved legislative framework for freshwater in South Africa. It is recommended that all freshwater fish species be managed and/or protected on a catchment basis, as opposed to the current provincial basis. This will ensure legal certainty and reasonableness and that all indigenous freshwater fish which are subject to the similar threats are protected adequately and uniformly.
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