The Fynbos Fish Trust

Conserving freshwater fishes

and their habitats in South Africa’s Cape Fold Ecoregion Biodiversity Hotspot.


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 Our Vision:

To serve and conserve the freshwater fishes of the fynbos region

The Fynbos Fish Trust is a not-for-profit organisation.

All our activities are carried out as a non-profit, with an altruistic and philanthropic intent. 

What we do

The Trust works to achieve these objectives: 

• To develop our capacity to become the leading non-profit organisation in freshwater fish conservation and related fields within the Cape Fold Ecoregion (CFE).

• To work closely with the provincial and national conservation authorities and others managing and conserving native freshwater fish in the CFE.

• To promote and carry out an integrated and sustained programme of well-targeted conservation projects to protect the native freshwater fish in the CFE.

• To ensure that the success all conservation interventions are evaluated through robust scientific monitoring.

• To raise public awareness of the importance of native freshwater fish in the CFE, through better communication, education and outreach programmes.

• To develop the Trust’s organisational capacity to carry out our objectives through income generation and good management practice.

• To distribute surplus income arising from the invested Trust capital to such Public Benefit Organisations that the Trustees may, from time to time, choose.

Help us protect these ancient species…

many of which are swimming on the edge of extinction.

 Fynbos Fish trust

Here are some of our activities:

Clearly removing non-native fish from a river or stream isn’t easy. Non-native fish can’t easily be seen (like alien trees). And while removing the species, we need to find a way to protect the indigenous Fynbos Fish.

And yet technology has come a long way – and there is already much we can – and are – doing to protect our Cape Fold Ecoregion against the many threats. These include:


Mechanical clearing, which allows us to remove invasive non-native species from river systems. Through a combination of activities such as gill netting, hand netting and electrofishing, we can remove invasive fish, without affecting indigenous species.


Chemical clearing must be carefully managed. We first undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment. Then populations of indigenous fish, and where relevant other natural aquatic species, are rescued from the site. The piscicides (chemicals) are added to the water-area. Because they are not species specific, they will kill both non-native and indigenous fish (but if the right concentration is used, their impact on other aquatic invertebrates is minimal). The chemicals are harmless to other wildlife and livestock. And within 24 hours, the water is no longer toxic to fish, and the area can be restocked. This should be done in areas where non-native fish can’t reinvade from downstream.



Where possible, and working with partners such as the Freshwater Research Centre, we monitor treated and untreated sites. We undertake basic habitat assessment and SASS samples, and keep records of species.


It’s pointless to rehabilitate rivers and streams to protect Fynbos Fish if people – be it anglers or landowners – simply restock them with non-native fish. That’s why it’s vital that we share the plight of the Fynbos Fish with our stakeholders. Many people simply don’t realise the immense biodiversity value of these ancient species, or that they even exist in our Cape Fold Ecoregion. We work to rectify this lack of knowledge.

management strategy

The role of our conservation authorities, in particular CapeNature, cannot be overstated. We work closely with these authorities, to encourage an integrated fish and river management strategy and to serve as a voice for these secretive species.