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It has become necessary to document SAKKS' stance on KHV relating to dealers, breeders and hobbyists. All too often has SAKKS been placed in a compromised position where it has been expected to take a stance on conflicting parties who find it difficult to reach a compromise, despite it being a totally private business matter.


SAKKS has a very specific mission which is defined in the SAKKS constitution. SAKKS is not a legal entity which governs or controls dealers, breeders or hobbyists.

The SAKKS constitution lists five main objectives:

  1. To promote Koi and the interests of koi and koi keeping in South Africa, and adjoining States.
  2. To function for the mutual benefit of Members interested in Koi keeping.
  3. To encourage friendship and co-operation between members and to promote a spirit of goodwill amongst all koi lovers worldwide.
  4. To organise meetings, shows and seminars and publish a newsletter in order to further the objectives of the Society.
  5. To procure funds and to apply such funds for the furtherance of the above stated objectives.

It becomes extremely difficult from a SAKKS perspective when there are financial interests, personality issues, individual egos and the threat of legal action that has to be taken into account when trying to keep everyone happy.

There are dealers who run their business with the objective of making a living. This is their livelihood.

There are hobbyists who purchase and keep koi for their own pleasure and who do not make money from koi.

There is the South African Koi Traders Association (SAKTA), a body that was established for dealers by dealers to handle matters relating to their industry. SAKKS supported and still continues to support their mission in principal.

There are SAKKS committee members who are hobbyists and who do not receive a cent for their efforts. They are dedicated individuals who give of their free time to arrange shows, attend meetings, go to pond safari's, arrange seminars, address the media and a whole lot more.

For SAKKS to promote a "spirit of good will" as documented in the constitution becomes a tricky task and very often an unpleasant one. All and sundry look to SAKKS committee members to "defend, promote, acknowledge, take action" and more. SAKKS is there to promote the hobby and not to stand as a mediator when things go wrong between dealers and hobbyists.


After much discussion and debate, SAKKS  decided on the following regarding SAKTA membership and the sale of fish at SAKKS koi shows:

It was published in KOISA that,

No longer will it be a requirement for dealers to be SAKTA registered to sell fish at our shows throughout South Africa. SAKKS will be publishing a protocol that will need to be followed and adhered to for dealers who wish to sell fish at SAKKS shows. KHV testing will still be necessary and proof thereof will need to be submitted to our office before a dealer stand is granted. Necessary safeguard measures will also be put into place to prevent possible contamination. Under no circumstances will our strict standards be compromised as a result of this new policy.

The reason for this adopted policy was brought about as a direct result of dealers themselves complaining about paying membership to SAKTA. Many prominent dealers offered to pay money into SAKKS's account for them to administer the funds. This was obviously not a SAKKS mission and was declined.

The status quo has therefore remained the same for SAKTA and its members, despite their significant declining membership. SAKKS still recommends and supports the notion that dealers and breeders need to have their own body to govern their own business interests. SAKKS acknowledges the tremendous effort put in by SAKTA regarding the Biodiversity Act and government legislation regarding imports.

KHV is brought in by dealers and breeders, not hobbyists, to date. So why do certain individual dealers proudly present themselves as the savior and threaten to go "public" when there are KHV outbreaks. There are no dealers who have the guts to do so, in case of potential litigation. However, these very dealers want SAKKS to go public. SAKKS committee members are passionate non-paid individuals who could be sued in their personal capacity along with SAKKS. So Mr Dealer, your threat to go "public", must no longer remain a threat. I urge you to take a stance and argue your case in court. SAKKS goes out of its way to support hobbyists, breeders and dealers, should they have the misfortune of contracting KHV. SAKKS takes the risk of exposing KHV outbreaks and reporting on them, even when no evidence of the source can be proven. It is very few dealers who have come to the fore and given permission to divulge the facts. SAKKS acknowledges these dealers who have come forward in the past and who have taken the necessary action as laid out by SAKTA. It is no shame to admit to an outbreak, but it is surely sacrilege to continue selling koi to the public from infected ponds. It is even worse if the koi are not destroyed as these would remain carriers of the virus and in turn affect other koi in the future.


Letter to the Editor

The decision was taken to publish Rocky Michael's letter addressed to the editor this month to highlight the difficulty and frustration experienced in trying to establish the source of the outbreak. It is acknowledged that it has been severely edited, obviously to avoid legal action. SAKKS played a role in monitoring that the procedures were carried out in a constructive manner as there was much animosity in the air.

In this instance, Rocky lost his entire collection in pond 2 and his koi were tested positive by an independent source. However, when KHV tests were conducted at the dealer's premises, the results came back negative. All we know is that Rocky had a KHV positive result and he lost his collection. The source remains unclear to date and extremely difficult to prove. This is extremely concerning for all because there may well be KHV koi carriers who still cannot be identified because they do not have full blown KHV. Certainly extremely worrying for all.

Again, SAKKS was brought into the equation as there were extremely unhappy individuals with all sorts of legal threats from all parties involved. This is were the role of SAKKS ends as it cannot get involved with personal threats and the threat of civil claims where large sums of money are involved. SAKKS's role is to inform its members about the potential threats of KHV and to again stress the importance of quarantining your koi, no matter where they come from.

SAKKS's stance regarding KHV or any other diseases

SAKKS will wherever possible report on findings to its members as part of its ongoing attempt to keep koi healthy for the enjoyment of the hobby. SAKKS cannot be expected to take legal action or mediate between hobbyists and dealers regarding their misfortunes. SAKKS simply does not have the jurisdiction, intention or funds to do so. It is for the private individual to take their gripes to a court of law and sue the accused in court. Again, provided that you have sound proof to sustain a claim. This is clearly not a SAKKS matter and I urge you all not to implicate SAKKS in private business deals.

SAKKS will take reasonable precautions at our shows to ensure that healthy koi are put on sale by dealers. It is these same dealers that will provide KHV free certificates (as was the case when SAKKS required SAKTA KHV free certificates). It must be stressed that these certificates are not fool proof. It is merely a precaution and not a hundred percent guarantee that the koi are KHV free. The KHV tests themselves are not one hundred percent guaranteed. Secondly, there may also be human error on the part of the dealers who may have mixed koi and let some go through the system without proper scrutiny. Again, SAKKS cannot monitor this. We have to rely on the integrity of dealers. Your only course of action is to sue in a court of law if you have a valid claim. It will only take one successful legal case to put unscrupulous dealers and or breeders on the right footing.

Quarantine your KOI

SAKKS cannot reiterate strongly enough that all koi need to be quarantined separately from the rest of your collection when purchasing a koi from the most reputable of dealers. These very dealers will tell you the same thing, QUARANTINE, QUARANTINE and QUARANTINE. This also applies when moving koi from your best friends pond to your own. QUARANTINE.

It is acknowledged that we all do simply not know enough about the virus to be completely safe. There are KHV carriers who show no symptoms and who test negative. So if these koi are not quarantined and stressed with the introduction of a pilot fish and tested, you are in danger of contracting the virus. Be responsible, just as you ought not to have unprotected sex with a stranger - you simply cannot introduce "unprotected" or properly quarantined koi to your pond.

A comprehensive article was published on quarantining koi in a previous edition of KOISA.