Bay's proposed fish farm plans to become public next month
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries remain mum regarding exact number of fish farms intended for Algoa Bay
The recent assessment report that earmarked four possible aquaculture farming zones in Algoa Bay should be open to the public by next month.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff) revealed this on Wednesday, in response to a Herald article on Monday regarding the Bay’s fish farm plans pressing ahead despite prior public outcry by residents.
Daff ministry spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said while the Environmental Impact Assessment was in a “very early stage”, she declined to answer if they intended to apply for more than one fish farm zone.
“The current plan is to do a pre-application public comment in March 2019 and formal public comment period on draft Basic Assessment Report in May and June 2019.”
A pre-application public comment period is done outside of the legislative requirements and is not a requirement by law.
The Basic Assessment process is however a legislated requirement and only requires one public comment period during the draft basic assessment release.
Nkwanyana said they were following this process in good faith over and above the legislated requirements.
The six-page Assessment Report identifies one of the zones as being off Hobie Beach, another two in the Addo Marine Protected Area while the fourth is a mussel or oyster application outside the Port Elizabeth Harbour.
The report also highlights that DAFF intended to apply for “at least” one of the zones.
Last week The Herald sent several questions to the department in an attempt to get clarity on the project.
“It is therefore preemptive to respond to these queries as they will all be responded to in the pre-application report and could lead to confusion,” Nkwanyana said on Wednesday.
The study into the aquaculture sustainability in the Bay comes after late environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa suspended the project due to a public outcry which led to several appeals.
Asked for clarity on the Basic Assessment report, Nkwanyana said it was merely to assess the number of alternative site and species combinations within Algoa Bay.
“As part of the process, extensive pre-consultation is being undertaken and all the relevant stakeholders will be consulted as required,” she said.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.