As you may be aware by now, our dams in the precinct are all struggling with their lowest levels yet. At last months RAMPOA Exco meeting this issue was raised along with the need to relocate the fish in the lower pond who at that point had very little water left to swim in. Since RAMPOA are not the owners of the land, and effectively only manage the garden landscaping, we elevated this to our Environmental Management Committee, who get authorization re environmental concerns directly from CoCT.
We were advised to identify the fish, which we got our Reserve manager to do. The fish were identified as Common Carp and Banded Talapia. Both species are on the invasive species list, and we were told to let them die, and arrange with the department of Stormwater to remove them after.
Before this played out, some concerned residents rallied support, spread the story on Social media, and embarked on a relocation project, moving the fish to another dam in Royal Ascot with a bit more water. This all done beyond the control and oversite of RAMPOA. Beyond our roles as trustees, as concerned parents and grandparents, we mailed Council to assist in helping “Save our Fish”.
Again, council have reiterated that it is illegal to transport fish without a permit, especially those on the invasive species list.The below reply was sent from Koos Retief, the Biodiversity Area Manager for Milnerton.
“Thank you for your enquiry. We aware that the storm water pond at the end of Grand National Boulevard is drying up. There are Common carp and Banded tilapia fish in the pond, which are invasive to South Africa and the Western Cape respectively. In the Western Cape, no person may transfer live fish between water areas without a permit.
When water bodies dry up in natural areas, other wildlife (pelicans and mongooses for example) normally eat up the fish. Royal Ascot, however, has fewer of these birds and animals, which means the fish do not get eaten up. As a result, the City’s Stormwater Management Department will be removing dead fish from the stormwater ponds from time to time. Many fish will be able to recover from eggs that hatch again when he water levels rise again
We discourage people from moving these invasive fish species to any other water area, as similar problems will then just occur in more drying ponds and wetlands around Cape Town.
Carp is among the “World’s 100 Worst” invaders. Banded Tilapia competes directly with indigenous fish and dominates introduced habitats. It would therefore be a threat to our indigenous fish species to introduce these fish to any other water bodies. These fish were illegally introduced to the stormwater system at Royal Ascot.”