MEC of Agriculture NC visits the project

On the 27th of November MEC of the Department of Agriculture, Land Affairs and Rural Development (DALRRD) Norman Shushu, visited the Vanderkloof Fisheries project. The MEC spent time with the team to better to better familiarize himself with the research. He looked at the gear, setup and spend time with the team and went out on the dam as well.  The MEC was impressed with the progress made and promised his continued support for the project.

From the project premises, the MEC then proceed to Keurtjieskloof Primary School, to hand out the prizes for a colour in the competition that was held at the school.   The competition was held to increase awareness of the project and to name the fishing vessel of the project. The learners were asked to colour in a picture of a boat. The pictures were all beautiful and it was very difficult to choose a winner.

Three winners were chosen out of the 130 pictures. One from every age category.

Grade 1 – 3 winner Camilla Boegoe

Grade 4 – 5 winner Kyle Corneulisin

Grade 6 – 7 winner Lucianno Veldman

The MEC kindly gave a motivational talk to the learners about their role in leadership in the future, and then handed out the prizes. The 3 winners each received a brand new shiny fishing rod, a tackle box, and a sun cap. They were very excited and could not wait for school to break up to go fishing. A few hours later one of the winners was spotted with a few friends catching fish with his brand new rod!

The MEC also meet with the kraal fishers, and we thank him for taking time from his busy schedule to visit the project and the kraal fishers.

Lorenzo Damster

Lorenzo Damster age 28 lives in Petrusville and is a local Kraal Fisher. He catches fish with his hands at the Kraals and can catch fish in both hands at the same time!

He has been using the Kraals for 3 years and selling the fish brings an income which enables him to support his wife and 2 children.

Without the fish he would not be able to support his family, this is a vital link to his livelihood.

Lorenzo supports the project and buys fish often for re-selling purposes.

He says without the project and the income he receives from the selling of the fish, it would impact his life and those of the community negatively. It is very important to him that the project is successful and looks forward to the research being concluded and the project handed back to the community and a working, successful business model.

His hope is that the project will identify the people who are serious about the project and wants to make a success of it.

The Crew sells fish!!!

Thursday 1st November the fishing crew packed the Bakkie with a freezer, ice, weight scale and bins of fresh fish and then set off to De Aar. We had big signs advertising our fresh fish and the prices.

We found a really busy spot in Amelia Street which attracted lots of interest from the local people.

This was part of a marketing exercise and many valuable lessons were learnt! We also made some good contacts for the future.

The fish was sold either filleted or whole.

It was an exciting day and we spend most of the day there and was able to sell 137kg of fish.

We averaged a sale every 5 and a half minutes! We plan to follow up on a regular basis to create a need and secure a new market.

 

The Vanderkloof Fisheries Project starts!The project has officially started. With our various permits in hand and the go ahead given by DALRRD we are happy to announce the project is in full swing. This was a fairly long process to ensure all operations are correct, and now with all our T crossed and I’s dotted the team is very busy catching fish. This has allowed us to start selling fish to the local Kraal fishers in the 3 towns Keurtjieskloof, Petrusville and Luckhoff. The Kraal fishers place their orders with the crew, who in turn catch the fish and deliver it to the various towns. In addition of the selling of fish to the locals the team strives to empower the Kraal fishers with business and trade, teaching them the value by selling the fish by weight rather than estimate by sight. To keep records of their purchases and to be able to work out percentages with a calculator. In all to start building small businesses and thinking as a business person. This positive addition to their lives with rub off on the younger generation and so breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering a whole community The start of the project has been very positive and promises to get better every day. We are proud to be involved in the project and seeing the changes in thinking from the Kraal fishers.

Training of Experimental Fishing Crew

On receiving permits from DENC to start the experimental fishery, there has been progress in the project in that the crew for the boat has been appointed.   They are Skipper Ricardo Block and Deckhand Xavier Greeff. Both Ricardo and Xavier are from Kuertjieskloof. Ricardo has a skippers license and as such he will be a real asset to the project.

Training of the fishing crew has already started. The first training courses for the boat crew started on the 2nd of October, the courses covered First Aid level 1 as well as Fire Safety. The training was conducted at the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation offices in Vanderkloof.

 

The training was also attended by Clarence Oliphant, who is a facilitator appointed by the project and amongst his roles is to provide support to the kraal fishers.