Algoa Bay fish farm ‘will boost jobs’
Controversial project to employ unskilled and semi-skilled labour, says department of fisheries
A range of jobs will be created by the Algoa Bay fish farm project and every effort will be made to include local jobs, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries says.
Department spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said direct and indirect jobs would flow from the project.
“They will be for unskilled and semi-skilled labourers, skippers, divers, farm maintenance staff, fish-processing facility staff and aquaculture consultants.
“There will also be a need for food safety technicians, aquatic animal health vets, environmental officers and associated staff.
“Services needed could include boat maintenance, net manufacturing and repairs, and commercial diving.”
Asked how many jobs would go to local people, Nkwanyana said the department recognised that local businesses had to be procured and broad-based black economic empowerment-certified business should be preferred.
“Should these benefit enhancing measures not be implemented, the positive impact has been rated as low.
“These measures must be implemented as best as possible to enhance the positive impact . . . no number of local jobs can be assigned at this stage.”
He said 100 jobs would be created during the pilot 1, 000ton phase of the fin-fish farm side of the project with yellowtail or kob at Algoa One off Summerstrand and Algoa Seven off Coega.
This would rise to 320 jobs across these two sites if the project was expanded to a commercial 3,000-ton production scale. He made no reference to the department’s proposed mussel and oyster project at Algoa One and no reference to a pilot phase for the shellfish farming in general.
But he said 740 jobs would be created at the mussel and oyster operation at the Algoa Six site north of the Port Elizabeth harbour.
Nkwanyana said employment was not the only socioeconomic benefit that the fisheries department aimed to unlock with the project.
“Small, medium and microenterprises will be created and wealth-generating aquaculture opportunities.
“Transformation in this sector will be increased, imports will be substituted, local socioeconomic benefits will be realised, alternative livelihoods will be created, skills will be developed and there will be job opportunities for women and youths.”
Asked why the fisheries department seemed determined to establish a fish farm in Algoa Bay even after former environment minister Edna Molewa upheld appeals against it in 2014 on the back of a huge public outcry and a petition signed by 1, 700 residents, he said it was a response to geographical constraints.
“Algoa Bay was identified as one of the few places where sea-based aquaculture is possible along the very exposed shoreline of South Africa.”
Asked why the fisheries department did not press instead for a land-based aquaculture operation adjacent to Algoa Bay, he said this was because the department was already developing other land-based sites elsewhere in the country.
“Overall implementation of a land-based system for fin fish is very expensive,” Nkwanyana added.