KNYSNSA - A unique partnership in the Garden Route has provided hunger relief during these challenging economic times in South Africa, while simultaneously solving an ecological challenge in the area.
Invasive carp have been increasing in numbers in the
Groenvlei Lake, a freshwater lake near Sedgefield. While local fishermen had
been permitted to fish in the lake during the lockdown period to remove the
oily fish native to Asia and Europe from the area, there was not sufficient
demand to create ecological balance in the lake.
With the growing need for food in the community due to the impact of
COVID-19 infections, the fish have now become a valuable source of protein.
Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers, in partnership with the Knysna
Municipality, have entered into an innovative partnership to distribute the
fish to the needy in the greater Knysna area.
However, transporting the fish to communities was a
challenge, as the fish needed to be kept at very low temperatures in accordance
with the conditions stipulated by the Department of Health. Isuzu Motors South
Africa, through its truck dealership, Isuzu Truck Centre Cape Town, offered a
refrigerated Isuzu truck to Gift of the Givers for this purpose.
“We could not have done this without our partners,
including Isuzu who provided a critical element in terms of the logistics of
transporting and keeping the fish at the correct temperature in a refrigerated
truck,” said Mario Ferreira, Gift of the Givers Regional Head in the Southern
Depending on the catch, the team delivers fish
daily with the refrigerated truck, explained Ferreira. “We would not be able to
reach so many residents if it was not for the support received from Isuzu.
According to one of the beneficiaries one fish had fed a family of 13 people,”
The fish is also donated to two soup kitchens in
the area that provide meals to more than 250 people per day.
Dr Michele Gratz, Knysna Acting Municipal Manager,
said the Knysna Municipal Food Parcel Database was used to ensure fair and
equitable distribution of the fish.
“We are extremely grateful that Gift of the Givers
has recognised the nutritional value of the carp and, in partnership with
Isuzu, are offering cold storage for the fresh fish, which they will be adding
to the food parcels which will be delivered to those in need within Greater
Knysna. Garden Route District Municipality Health Inspectors were consulted
when finalising the cold chain management process of the fish once caught,”
Cape Nature, the custodians of Groenvlei, was
another critical link in the unique partnership.
Dr. Ernst Baard, CapeNature Executive Director,
said the Groenvlei carp management project achieves three goals simultaneously.
“That is, invasive alien species control, eco-system rehabilitation and social
responsibility, in a time of need. With CapeNature removing carp from the vlei
and allowing the eco-system to return to normal and the Knysna municipality and
non-government partners using the fish to supply members of local communities
with much-needed nutrition, we have a win-win situation under the current
circumstances,’ said Baard.