Ross Purdon (MPL)
Shadow MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture
The recent positive environmental authorisation for the Algoa Bay Sea based Aquaculture Development Zone (Algoa Bay Fish Farm) has to be opposed at all costs.
After extensive consultation with expert Dr Eckart Schumann, Dr Shirley Parker-Nance and leading businessmen the DA is convinced this authorisation has to be opposed. At present this process is under appeal and we are aware of numerous appeals against having been lodged. We know that there will be overwhelming resistance. The DA will also ask the relevant authorities to re-consider.
There is overwhelming evidence that the proposed site poses significant challenges in respect of potential tourism losses, water safety and quality, property values, shipping lanes, recreational water users, water sport events (which generate huge income for the Metro), the Blue Flag Beaches and the possibility of dolphins and whales being caught in the nets to name but a few. The predator population would also increase leading to many more sharks.
After suffering the loss of the Apple Express and taking all the problems related to Bayworld and the Red Location Museum into account, the Metro cannot afford to lose its pristine beaches. The negative visual impact cannot also be underestimated. Possible job losses in the tourism industry are a real probability as well.
There are also massive environmental and pollution concerns. The increased nutrient load will encourage favourable conditions for a plankton explosion. Algae will feed on these nutrients and more vigorous red tides are a real possibility.
At this stage it must be clarified that this environmental authorisation was applied for and granted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). No local investors have supported this project to date and we are told that international investors are being sought. This also poses concerns and we will ask the questions.
The DA will also question the public participation process related to the environmental authorisation. Was this process properly advertised? Was the process properly adhered to and were the objections adequately addressed?
While the DA is acutely aware of the economic growth needed in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro we cannot support this venture.
The DA supports responsible development to create sustainable jobs and we must suggest an alternate, more appropriate site for aquaculture.
Land-based aquaculture in the Coega Industrial Development Zone has to be the preferred alternative. It is well documented that marine-based fish farming is much more expensive. There is much more potential for job opportunities and related industries in land-based aquaculture.
I can assure the public that I, together with DA-ward councillors Dean Biddulph and Rob Wylde, will give this issue our undivided attention.