Pollution threat ‘will hamper fish stocks’
If the Algoa Bay fish farm is approved it will pollute underwater reefs, jeopardise fish stocks and threaten the Bay’s critically endangered African penguins, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa says.
Gary Koekemoer, chair of the society’s Algoa Bay branch, said that the project could also strip beaches by blocking the movement of sand, undercutting Bay recreation and tourism.
“We remain deeply concerned that the impact of fish faecal matter, antibiotics to treat caged fish, the transfer of diseases like sea lice to wild stock and the chemicals used in anti-fouling will fundamentally alter if not destroy our local reefs,” Koekemoer said.
“Bell Buoy reef – near to the envisaged Algoa One site off Pollok Beach – was a key point for scuba diving training and tours due to the diverse fish species there and the presence of the fearsome-looking but docile ragged-tooth shark.
“Polluting the reef and jeopardising fish stocks ran counter to the risk-averse approach stipulated by the National Environmental Management Act, both in terms of the impact on the marine ecosystem and the dive business that relied on it.”
The Anchor report has estimated that the prevailing currents will carry this faecal and chemical pollution 200m at most but oceanographer Dr Eckart Schumann has argued that the buoyancy of this pollution and the phenomenon of wind-driven surface drift could carry it much further.
NMU marine biologist and penguin specialist Dr Lorien Pichegru said the reef concern related to the Algoa Seven site, 3km off Coega between the Ngqura harbour wall and St Croix Island, on the border of Addo Marine Protected Area.
“We are concerned about the impact it will have for instance on the African penguin colony resident on the island.”