A FIRST of its kind sea-based protest, to oppose the proposed fish farm earmarked for Algoa Bay, is set to take place this Saturday.
The protest, organised by Adventure Swims ZA, calls on all residents in the Bay to join in for a swim, paddle, snorkel, surf or walk along the beach front.
This follows the announcement of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) plan to bring commercial fish farming to the Bay through the use of sea cages in three locations.
Algoa Bay Fish Farm project | Photo: Alan Straton/mype.co.za
According to Gary Koekemoer, chairperson of the Algoa Bay branch of the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA, which is spearheading opposition to the fish farm, all protesters will meet at Hobie Beach at 09:00, then swim and walk to Humewood Beach, where a memorandum will be handed over to the relevant parties between 09:45 and 10:15.
“Our goal is to draw the public’s attention to the proposed DAFF Algoa Bay aquaculture development zone (ADZ); the shortcomings in the current basic assessment process (BAR) being undertaken by the environmental assessment practitioner; and to put on record that restoring the Swartkops Estuary is a far more viable and beneficial alternative to the ADZ.
“In short – no to fish farms, and yes to restoring the Swartkops,” Koekemoer said.
The secondary goal of the protest is to visually demonstrate the size of the open-water and surf community in Algoa Bay.
In addition, the protest will demonstrate that, even in the middle of winter, the Algoa Bay southern shores are a hugely popular destination for such an activity.
According to Koekemoer, the proposed fish farm seeks a maximum of 82 cages off the Bay’s northern beaches, another 82 cages at the southern beaches and five new bivalve farms next to the current oyster farm, just north of PE Harbour.
YouTube video | Gary Koekemoer | Say NO to Fish Farms in Algoa Bay. Say YES to restoring the Swartkops
DAFF needs approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for this plan to materialise.
Once they have the DEA’s approval, they will be able to sell licences to run commercial farms in the designated zones.
Algoa Bay is not only home to a rich interlinked system of beaches, reefs and creatures, but it’s also the provider of jobs and income to thousands of Nelson Mandela Bay residents.
Koekemoer said that the real risk lies in the loss of jobs for those who are employed in hotels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, shops, transport, cleaning and other businesses.
Source: Kailin Daniels/news24.com | Read full story here