When Cape Nature called for public participation in solving the much publicised Groenvlei carp problem, they surely had no idea how seriously their request would be taken.
The call for assistance was made at a public meeting held on 6 February where many local residents voiced concerns over the condition of the lake, which is thought to be due to the exponential growth of the population of invasive carp.
Soon after the meeting, local fishing enthusiast Gill Thomas, contacted Johnny Snyman, inviting him and his bow-hunting team to lunch. She congratulated the bow-hunters on their effort towards reducing the carp numbers in the Groenvlei Lake. Rightfully so, considering they have removed an impressive 12 tonnes of the invasive species in the last 20 months.
She then offered to assist them in increasing their efforts with the use of specialised carp nets, which she would sponsor – to the tune of R20 000!
“Furthermore,” Johnny enthused later, “Gill told us that if anyone matches her donation, she will double it!”
Two nets – each 100m long – have been ordered from Bertie Burger, a professional net maker from the West Coast who has been handcrafting specialised nets since he was 12. He is now over 70.
Bertie and his wife are driving down to Sedgefield and will arrive on Friday to deliver the nets and advise on their usage. This too has been made possible by a community effort. Their accommodation has been provided free by Lake Pleasant Chalets and Lodges, with Traders and Garden Bistro providing their meals.
Michael Berman, another local, has also kindly donated a trawling motor and an outboard motor to Johnny’s team to be used in the carp eradication project.
Armed with this extra ‘arsenal’ for carp capture, they will continue running the bow-hunting project, whilst setting the gill nets at the same time. They are designed to be species specific, so that bass or any indigenous fish are not affected.
“The permit allows us to put the nets out just after sunset, and they must be taken in just before sunrise,” explains Johnny, “This is important as it minimises the danger of catching birds and otters.”
He says that his team partners well with Cape Nature. There is a good deal of trust on both sides and he is convinced that each has Groenvlei’s best interest at heart.
Johnny may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org