Waters & words

Mynahs, Trout and Mielies

As a youngster, I was conditioned to hate Indian Mynah birds. They were an alien species, made a horrible noise and were often seen chasing other birds away from food.  I once witnessed the neighbouring farmer’s wife shooting an Indian Mynah through the sash window , from well within the master bedroom, with a 12 gauge shotgun!  KABOOM!

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I was not yet a teenager.

That’s got to leave an impression!

But then I noticed the bird appeared in the Roberts Bird book. That was puzzling, because it is not indigenous. And then Mynah bird’s range appeared to retract a bit, and we stopped seeing them on the farm. We only saw them in town. It wasn’t our shooting that did it, they just got clobbered by Newcastle disease, and when they recovered, they fell into a controlled niche on their own and it has been like that ever since.

I am not sure if you are allowed to shoot Mynahs, but either way, you certainly aren’t allowed to shoot them in built up areas , even though they are alien. You can’t ignore one law in order to support another, especially not if it will harm people.

Which brings me to the Trout debate.

Rainbow (1 of 1)-2

As I understand it, the authorities want to make trout an alien invasive ogre, that may be “shot in built up areas”, and which by concession will be allowed to be protected in certain areas, if it takes the fancy of who ever is in charge at the time. But by the stroke of a pen at any time in the future they can be decimated by not allowing their breeding or transport etc.

FOSAF and Trout SA want the same current scenario (only have Trout within their current range), but without the risk of them being wiped out by the stroke of a pen by a zealot in future.  They argue that Trout stopped spreading  (or more correctly being spread by man) over a hundred years ago in most cases, and that to put Trout at risk in their current range, for fear of them spreading to ranges in which they wont survive anyway, is like taking a loaded RPG launcher to a paintball game. An RPG that could destroy the table Trout, and commercial fly-fishing industry and leave a lot of hungry human mouths.

The state, and its opponents on this one, have poured vast resources into this fight, over decades. Decades in which TRULY invasive species like wattle trees and bass have spread at will. We really have lost our way haven’t we!

I am with Trout SA and FOSAF on this one.  I have learnt to tolerate Mynahs. And Mynahs don’t even benefit anyone. I have also learnt to tolerate mielies, peaches, London Planes, kikuyu lawns, and even people.

Well, maybe only some people.

If you are a South African Trout angler, you really cannot afford NOT to be a member of FOSAF. 

This is an appeal.

For the cost of a couple of burgers and cokes, click here and join.  Just do it!

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