Fish farm appeal extension granted — again
A miscommunication has caused confusion around an extension on an appeal in a fish farm lawsuit after the date was extended, cancelled and then extended again.
On Friday, Anchor Environmental Consultants sent out a message stating that a 10-day extension had been granted due to the global coronavirus pandemic and then later cancelled the new date.
On Monday officials confirmed that there appeared to be a “miscommunication” and that the appeal process deadline had in fact been extended.
The appeal was due to close on March 19 but due to the outbreak the consultancy said the closing date for appeals had been pushed back to April 2.
Consultancy representative Safiyya Sedick said in an e-mail on Thursday that the period had been extended until April 2, but a day later Sedick sent another e-mail stating the extension was withdrawn.
On Monday, Sedick released another e-mail stating that they had, once again, extended the deadline to April 2.
The move has left environmental conservancy group Algoa Bay Conservation wanting answers as to why the deadline was shifted at the last minute and residents only informed on the day.
Sedick failed to respond to e-mails as to why there had been a miscommunication.
In February, the Algoa Bay Aquaculture Development Zone was approved amid commentary that it was a new vehicle for jobs and economic development.
According to the government, the project would net almost R600m in investment and create almost 3,000 jobs.
Critics, however, warned that fish farms would increase the risk of shark attacks and turn the Bay into a marine industrial park, resulting in the lost of tourism jobs and opportunities.
The department of environmental affairs said in a letter that it had granted permission for a finfish farm near the Port of Ngqura as well as shellfish farms that would focus on oysters and mussels — one off the city’s southern beaches and the other just north of the Port Elizabeth harbour.
While the process has been endorsed, and approved, the law entitles all affected parties to lodge appeals in a bid to get the state to review its reasons for granting permission.
The appeals are lodged with the department of environmental affairs’ appeals review board, which will assess the reasons for the appeal.